It was a pleasant surprise seeing Ripon Kumar Das, the younger brother of national cricketer Liton Kumar Das, honing his skills in Bangla Trac Cricket Academy on Sunday.
The academy, which started its journey in 2008, is situated in Katakhali, 14 kilometers from Rajshahi’s zero point but the distance hardly can take a toll once someone’s mind after reaching there.
“I was talking to my elder brother (Liton Das) and asked him where I can do practice as there were not enough facilities in Dinajpur. He told me to join here and I am working here for a quite some time and quite happy with all the facilities that I am receiving because I feel it will surely develop me as a cricketer,” Ripon, who played for Uttara Sporting Club last season, told The Daily Sun after coming out from an extensive net sessions.
Ripon is not the only one sweating out in BTCA considering there are lots of cricketers coming from different parts of the country.
Some national cricketers also come here to have some extended training sessions in order to develop their cricketing skills.
“Look, a lot of cricketers come from different parts of the country and we have different sets of packages for them,” BTCA head coach and COO Khaled Mahmud said.
“Initially, we opened this academy to develop cricketers of the Rajshahi but as it flourished now we are trying to develop cricketers from all over the country,” he said.
The activities are divided into two shifts and run by a nine-member coaching panel while there are different categories like elite group, high-performance group apart from age level group comprising 14, 16 and 18.
There is a residential facility available inside the academy premises while lots of messes have been built adjacent to BTCA that provides residential service to cricketers.
The indoor and gym are situated near the cricket field where matches are played between different groups of cricketers on a regular basis. They also do training in the several nets that are developed for the skill training session.
The coaches are now getting ready to prepare cricketers for the different leagues of Dhaka like the third division, second division and first division.
Abdul Muqtadir, director of BTCA, said that they have big plans with the academy despite the fact that it is a non-profitable organisation.
“This is certainly a non-profitable organisation and chances are very slim that it will turn out to be a profitable organisation in near future. Forty percent of the students are given training facilities free of cost,” Muqtadir said, adding that keeping away the young generation from drugs was one of the major reasons that prompted them to develop the academy.
“Look, Rajshahi is close to the border and as a result drug use was always there and it was raised to a great extent when we felt we needed to do something to keep the children away from drugs,” he said.
“Another thing is that a lot of guys are earning after taking cricket as a profession and that also motivates us as we want to see them develop as a worthy citizen of the society,” he added.
Muqtadir added that national cricketers have to pay only BDT 5000 if they want to use our facilities and they feel this is one way they can contribute to the national interest.
“The amount is very minimal that we charge when national cricketers come here and practice because we feel that we have some responsibility,” he concluded.