ICC to open global academy
An artist's impression of part of the global cricket academy
A global cricket academy designed to improve the standards of weaker nations is to be opened, the International Cricket Council has announced.
Dubai Sports City, branded the world's first integrated purpose-built sports city, will house the centre.
It will include a 30,000-capacity stadium, three other cricket grounds, indoor training and fitness facilities. The project will open in 2007 and will be available to all of the ICC's 92 member countries.
ICC president, Ehsan Mani, said the project offered cricket a unique opportunity to establish a world-class development centre would be a key element in the ICC's push to develop the game.
"The academy is a very exciting development not only for the ICC, but also for cricket globally," said Mani.
Ehsan Mani in Dubai
Mani (right) completes the necessary paperwork
"Dubai is an ideal location with its ease of access for the cricket playing world and climate offering a perfect setting for this facility.
"With the facilities that are being put in place, the academy will be an outstanding resource for the ICC and our 92 members to use to continue the growth of the game."
While countries like world champions Australia and England can send their up-and-coming players to the academy, its main purpose will be to enhance opportunities for players from minnow nations.
The project is designed to aid juniors, coaches, umpires and even groundsmen.
During the recent ICC Champions Trophy, there was a huge gulf in class between the top-eight Test-playing nations and the rest, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Kenya and United States.
In future countries whose infrastructure are lagging behind the elite will be able to use the communal facility, which in turn should begin to raise performance levels across the world.