Kochi, Sep 30 (UNI) With sports catching the fancy of youth, and parents encouraging their wards, thanks to the emergence of young fast bowler S Sreesanth, Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has drawn up a development plan, which it calls 'Vision 2010', according to KCA President T R Balakrishnan.
Talking to UNI even as he was overseeing the hectic preparations at the Nehru International Stadium here for the second ODI match between India and Australia on October 2, Mr Balakrishnan, who is also the Executive Chairman of the organising committee for the match, said 14 districts had been already given the plan and funds were allotted to them for the purpose.
''Turf wickets would be laid in these districts and young talents would be groomed,'' he said.
He said thrust would be given to the development of cricket in the rural centres also, adding that with a player from a small state like Jharkhand, M S Dhoni, rising to become captain of the team, the youth here were attracted more to cricket vis-a-vis football.
''Previously it was all football in Kerala. Now the focus has shifted definitely to cricket and we want to cash in on this trend,'' he said.
The emergence of Sreesanth had definitely boosted the hopes of youngsters to become cricket satrs and the confidence that they would get more chances to play now than before, he pointed out.
Parents were also reassured that there was a future if one took to cricket seriously, he also said and added even a young Ranji Trophy players got about Rs 8 lakh a year now.
Mr Balakrishnan and KCA Vice-President Sunil said the association was also in the process of acquiring land on the outskirts of Ernakulam to build its own cricket stadium.
''We hope to have our own cricket ground and stadium in two years time,'' they said.
In fact, ''we have identified the land, but kept it under wraps,'' they said, stressing on the high land prices in Kochi.