The Prasad mission

Andhra Cricket Association Secretary, Gokaraju Ganga Raju (right) and Director (Cricket Operations) M. S. K. Prasad, taking a glance at the promotional booklet in Vijayawada.-CH VIJAYA BHASKAR Andhra Cricket Association Secretary, Gokaraju Ganga Raju (right) and Director (Cricket Operations) M. S. K. Prasad, taking a glance at the promotional booklet in Vijayawada.

The Andhra Cricket Association has got ready some state-of-the-art stadiums and academies. Efforts are on to market these facilities to teams in England. J. R. Shridharan has this report.

Former India stumper and Andhra Cricket Association’s director M. S. K. Prasad has added another feather to his illustrious cap — as a marketing manager — and has left for London to sell the spruced-up facilities of the association to the Englishmen.

The ACA, under the stewardship of Dr. Gokaraju Ganga Raju, has readied a good number of state-of-the-art stadiums and academies in the coastal and Rayalaseema areas since 2009 by spending crores of rupees with an objective to offer quality playfields to the next generation cricketers.

“We have readied three residential academies and two international-standard stadiums. We would like to generate revenue from this infrastructure and my aim is to meet as many county heads in England as possible and explain to them about the facilities, thus enabling their teams to practise at these stadiums,” said Prasad before his departure.

The ACA has stadiums in Visakhapatnam and Mangalagiri (near Vijayawada) and four academies in Vizianagaram, Kadapa, Mangalagiri and Guntur. The one in Guntur is exclusively for women. Prasad will give a power-point presentation and distribute a colourful booklet comprising the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the stadiums and academies.

“I have already got a confirmation for a meeting from Bucks Cricket Club, Berkshire Cricket Club and Marylebone Cricket Club. Efforts are also on to meet the head coaches of Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire,” he said.

The multi-colour 24-page booklet, apart from highlighting cricketing facilities, has information on the areas of tourist importance and the hospitality sector. “Teams from abroad can have a dual benefit. They can harness their skills and also visit places of tourist interest,” Prasad pointed out.

Prasad said that cricketers from England preferred to practise in Dubai and Sri Lanka during the rainy season as they often had an extended one (rainy season). We want to tap the market as it is also economically viable for them,” he explained.

The trip is also aimed at striking deals with cricket administrators for exchange programmes of teams from either side for the benefit of young players. “In modern-day cricket, playing on different strips and playfields is essential.”

Prasad is also working in tandem with the Asian Cricket Council’s Development Officer, the former India spinner Venkatapathy Raju, to market the facilities to the ACC members such as Qatar, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, UAE and Bahrain.

He felt that the improved air connectivity to Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati cities would lend a helping hand in attracting teams from aboard. Prasad’s recent visit to the International Cricket Council’s Global Academy in Dubai has made him chalk out an exchange programme for the age group teams.

“The Academy chief coach, the former Pakistan all-rounder Mudassar Nazar, was all ears and promised to send teams on exposure trips,” Prasad said.