Windies bowler trains in MRF Pace Foundation

Published: Saturday, February 5, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai:MRF Pace Foundation, renowned academy for bowlers since 1987, has added another feather to its cap with Hank Hall of West Indies becoming the first player from the land of fast bowling to train in Chennai.

The 19-year-old Hall, a budding star from St Vincent, is training in Chennai under former Australian speedster Dennis Lillee, considered as the 'Pace Guru', and will complete a stint of three weeks, which began on Jaunary 15.

The the city-based academy, which went international in 1992, had so far trained bowlers from all the full members of the International Cricket Council, including Australian Brett Lee.

The academy remains the only institution that specialises in rehabilitation of injured international fast bowlers and both Zaheer Khan and Laxmipathy Balaji underwent training and corrective measures for three weeks under Lillee's guidance.

T A Sekar, the Chief Coach at the academy, in a press release today said "both Zaheer Khan and Balaji showed tremendous improvement during their stint here. They were advised necessary changes in their bowling technique to prevent recurrence of these injuries.

As for Munaf Patel, who had shoulder operation last year after the India-A tour of Kenya and Zimbabwe, was thankful to Lillee on his complete recovery.

"Lillee was happy with Patel's fitness and strength apart from his bowling. He had felt that Patel is bowling as quick as he was before the operation and is not very far from playing for India," Sekar said.

As for specialisation and rehabilitation schemes, Sekar said "the foundation is now specialising in rehabilitation of injured fast bowlers by way of comprehensive fitness and core strength training and working on the bio-mechanical aspects of bowling technique".

During Lillee's visit this time from January 15 to February 3, Nottinghamshire bowlers Ryan Sidebottom, who has played 17 one-dayers and two Tests for England, Richard Hodgekinson, Tom Oakes and A J Harris and Sajjad Mohd, who recently played a Test against South Africa, Rikki Clarke and David Stiff of English Cricket Board Academy along with its coach Troy Cooley, honed their skills with the help of the Australian legend.

Lillee has also selected 11 bowlers from 62 trainees of the National Cricket Academy (Bangalore) in the age group of under-15, 17, 19 and 22. The selected bowlers would be trained between April and June this year, when the Aussie is slated to visit next.

He would then finalise the batch of bowlers to undergo training for a further period till September this year.

Those selected are: Under-15: Sidarth Kaul (Punjab), Pradeep Sangwan (Delhi) and Varun Aaron (Jharkand). Under-17: Aman Preet Singh, Harmeet Singh and Bharath Lumba (all Punjab) and Aditya Sagar (Karnataka). Under-19: Yo Mahesh (Tamil Nadu), Abhishek Pandey (Uttar Pradesh) and Tarun Sharma (Punjab).

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