‘World-class’ IPL academy provides boost for cricket in Cornwall

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In a major boost for cricket in Cornwall, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals have announced the founding of the Rajasthan Royals Academy Cornwall (RRAC), which will be based at Truro School, in partnership with the Cornish Cricket Company.

The academy will join other Royals academies around the globe, providing a coaching pathway for aspiring young cricketers. It is hoped the new setup will provide young boys and girls with access to a world-class network of coaches, facilities and opportunities. Young players at the academy will get the chance to play in various tournaments and festivals against other Royals Academies, as well as tour and visit other Royals locations, including Nagpur in India, as well as academies in The United Arab Emirates.

“There’s no barrier for a Cornish child to play at the very, very top level, and that’s something which is very, very exciting”

Speaking at the launch The Royals’ Head of Academy Development, Sid Lahiri stated: “We are delighted to open our latest Royals Academy in Cornwall. The South-West of England is full of cricketing talent. The Academy will have fantastic short and long-term benefits to boys and girls  and cricket generally in the region.”

The Cornish Cricket Company’s Head Coach, Sean Hooper, described the news to BBC Radio Cornwall as a “potential gamechanger”, giving local children “access to a world-class programme”. He added: “There’s no barrier for a Cornish child to play at the very, very top level, and that’s something which is very, very exciting.”

This seemingly unlikely partnership came about after Hooper took aside from the school to India in 2007 and forged relationships with some of the Royals’ coaches.

There is potential to “put Cornwall on the map as a serious cricketing county”

The Rajasthan Royals have been part of the IPL since its inaugural season in 2008, growing alongside what is now the worlds biggest T20 competition. The competitions two newest franchises were bought for a combined $1.6billion at auction last year.  The franchise has also been home to some of England’s biggest names, with world cup winners Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Michael Lumb all playing for them over the past decade.

President of CSM Cricket Club – a partnership between the Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union and Falmouth Cricket Club – Ali Khurram, told us that the news “clearly hints to a well of untapped talent in Cornwall, offering a pathway to hone and develop skills to a higher/professional standard,” with the potential to “put Cornwall on the map as a serious cricketing county”.

The English cricketing system currently has 18 professional counties of which neither Cornwall nor Devon are among them. Instead, they compete within the National Counties Cricket Association previously known as ‘Minor counties’.  This means local talent needs to move to play at the highest level of the English game. That hasn’t stopped Cornwall from contributing to the national game with Cornwall Cricket Club alumni Jake Libby and Liam Norwell both in the current conversation for England honours after excelling for their respective counties, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. This makes this news something of a coup for the area and offers real hope for the development of both boys and girls cricket in the region.

Students that are keen on a bit of cricket, no matter what level, can reach out to CSM via the SU website, along with all the other details.