Drawings underway for Mumbai Indians’ cricket academy in Trinidad

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Architectural drawings for the Mumbai Indians cricket academy, which will be built in Trinidad and Tobago, have already been conceptualised.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley first announced several weeks ago that the team, owned by the Ambani family of India, had approached the Government to hold talks on building a cricket academy in T&T.

Dr. Rowley said a 30-acre parcel of land opposite Trincity Mall, along the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, was made available for the construction of the academy.

Addressing the media on Sunday after his return from a trip to India, Rowley said he toured Mumbai’s academy in India and was pleased with what he saw.

“I was out with Akash Ambani, who literally showed me the three fields in Mumbai. I was taken to see what they have done in the academy. They have an academy there and this is what we conceptualise for here. Something not on the same scale, but the same concept.”

Rowley said there is no idea yet of the cost of the academy, but preparations for the project are underway.

“An architect was sent here a few weeks ago when we had the first set of discussions. The costs would only be determined when you get the architectural renderings and some costings put on that, (but) they’re close to being able to provide us with the first set of drawings that they intend to pursue.”

He said discussions meanwhile centre on organising the necessary paperwork to ensure the land is available soon.

“Right now, what is happening is that the lease here in Trinidad for the land is being finalised. There’s a small cabinet subcommittee that’s dealing with that. The survey, I think, is under way or completed.”

He said critics may question the decision, but T&T has a role to play in uplifting West Indies cricket and he believes this academy can help do that.

“We’re not playing enough cricket. We don’t have enough facilities. We’re not modernised, we’re not technically sound. All of those things require money. And these demands take place in that game on that scale.

“So an economy in T&T funded by Indian investment producing cricketers in T&T is not only for our benefit, but it may be a significant piece of the jigsaw puzzle in West Indies cricket. Because the whole intention is to give our youth the opportunity to show talent in the systems that we now have, nurture that talent and have that talent available.”

Rowley noted that cricket is now a multi-billion-dollar industry and it couldn’t hurt to have T&T be a part of it.

“Cricket as it exists now provides opportunities that didn’t exist before. Cricket today is a multi-billion-dollar business, and it’s an area where we have some strengths and we have to leverage that to be a part of this international business.”

He said the game requires nurseries to produce players for the many professional leagues across the world such as Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies, England and India. He added providing players for these leagues will benefit West Indies cricket.

“We will ensure that T&T plays its role in supporting and strengthening and growing West Indies cricket because we want to participate in this billion-dollar industry.” (Trinidad Newsday)

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