Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Sutherland, said a stream of AIS scholars who have trained at the Centre of Excellence (COE) had helped Australian cricket maintain its place as the number one team, however other nations are now catching up with the development of their own cricket programs.
“We need major redevelopment at the Centre of Excellence to keep Australian cricket ahead of the pack and welcome the Federal Government’s contribution of $17.5 million of what will be a $35million project,” Mr Sutherland said.
Senator George Brandis made the announcement along side some of the country’s cricketers, past, present and future, including Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson and Belinda Clark, who is now the COE Manager.
“This funding commitment by the government will be a major boost to the redevelopment plans and will ensure we can provide access to world-class facilities, for cricketers and the community in general,” Mr Sutherland said.
“The Cricket Centre of Excellence through the AIS programs has produced some of Australia’s greatest male and female cricketers over the last 20 years and its continued development is an important part of our strategy to keep our number one ranking in the world.
“There is no doubt that Australia punches above its weight on the international sporting stage. This can only be achieved through partnerships with government and the corporate sector. The Howard Government has certainly been a strong supporter of cricket in Australia and this funding is testament to that fact.”
The $35 million redevelopment of the Centre of Excellence includes:
Centre of Excellence Manager and former Australian Women’s captain, Belinda Clark, said the funding was much needed to ensure the program can stay ahead of the other cricketing nations.
“The Centre of Excellence, supported by the Australian Institute of Sport, provides a wide range of leading-edge training and development initiatives for Australia’s top players, coaches and umpires,” Clark said.
“However, for Cricket Australia to maintain our status as the world’s number one male and female cricketing nation we must continue to strive for greater success. We can only achieve this by having access to state-of-the-art cricket facilities, coaches, administrators and sports science and medical staff.”
Over 20 years, the AIS Centre of Excellence has helped to train and develop more than 265 male players with 43 going on to represent Australia in one day internationals, test matches and twenty 20 games.
In addition, 44 female scholarship holders have progressed through the AIS women’s cricket program with 33 representing Australia in test, one-day matches and Twenty20 matches.
The likes of Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Karen Rolton and Belinda Clark are among 76 international cricketers who have benefited from the coaching, training and sports medicine facilities provided by the Centre of Excellence at various stages of their careers.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS