India pacer Jasprit Bumrah has opted to train under Delhi Capitals trainer Rajnikanth Sivagnanam instead of National Cricket Academy (NCA) Strength and Conditioning Coach Nick Webb. Sivagnanam was one of the applicants for the NCA job but was rejected by the Committee of Administrators (CoA).
A BCCI official has now put a question mark over the appointment process claiming that it was harder for Rajni than the other candidates.
“This is not a judgement on Nick in any way, but the process was harder for Rajni than anyone else,” the official told IANS. “I had enquired from a member on the panel who was surprised at the apparent hostility towards Rajni. He was asked to do things by the gym trainer on the panel that no one else was. What was curious was that the person on the panel had not worked at the level that Rajni had worked at. It would be interesting to know who placed him on the panel.”
One of the trainers involved with a state team has also raised multiple questions with the upper age-limit of 35 years for NCA trainers. “You tell me something, who decided that NCA trainers have to be below 35? The last employment advertisement given by the BCCI for Strength & Conditioning Coach at the academy required the person to be below 35. So, who exactly are we trying to push and who are we trying to keep away? When national interest is at stake, why such a bizarre rule? We have been training domestic teams over the years and when we have reached a level of experience, we are told that the age is an issue,” the trainer told IANS.
The trainer added, “When India last won the World Cup in 2011, the trainer Ramji Srinivasan was 42. Why don’t you check with the likes of M.S. Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and all on what he brought to the table. This is all turning into a joke and the number of injuries to the players in recent times is enough proof of what we are saying is nothing but the truth.”
Another trainer said he wasn’t surprised with Bumrah’s decision. “We have been ignored despite being part of the system since the mid-2000s. Nothing against youngsters coming in, but even the international certification courses done by some of us have been ignored and hopefully all this will now change under the new BCCI officials. Rajni is one of the best we have so I am not at all surprised that Bumrah is training under him and not at the NCA. If you check with other players also, they aren’t too keen on undergoing rehab at the academy,” he said.
“In fact, why don’t you check why Hardik Pandya is not at the NCA? Also, what was Moitra and Nisha Varma — former Reebok Master Trainer (North India) – doing interviewing aspirants at the NCA? The pandora’s box remains to be opened,” he added.
Another source revealed that the Indian team management didn’t want to take any chances with Bumrah’s recovery from stress fracture and so they sent him to UK for consultation. “Can’t take a chance with one of your best bowlers even though his body was on auto heal mode. So, he was sent to the UK for consultation. We have an important tour of New Zealand coming up in the new year and he will be an integral part of the planning there. So, the team management was very clear that they are happy to wait and have him back at his best in time for the New Zealand tour,” the source said.