The Hyderabad Cricket Association is looking beyond cricket to transform the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium (Uppal) into a full-fledged sports complex.

Dr. M.V. Sridhar, HCA secretary, held a final round of talks with former Davis Cupper Guarav Natekar representing Mahesh Bhupathi’s Academy, and informed The Hindu that HCA has reached a pact whereby the Bhupathi Academy would have its centre at the RG stadium in Uppal.

Presently activities will be conducted on the two existing tennis courts which may be floodlit in future, depending on the response from the tennis lovers.

“The Bhupathi Academy will bear the complete operational costs including coaching and buying of equipment. And the revenue will be shared with 80 per cent going to them and 20 per cent to HCA,” Sridhar said.

“This agreement will be initially for five years and the possibility of extending it depends on how well the whole concept thrives,” he said.

Three levels

Giving further details, the HCA secretary said the Bhupathi Academy is planning to start three levels of coaching straight away from next month, with middle-level players’ programme and coaching for the professionals. “Mahesh Bhupathi will himself visit the venue in the first week of October,” Sridhar said.

Initially HCA will collect the fees, but a comprehensive mechanism will be put in place once the concept is fully operational, to avoid any misunderstanding.

HCA plans

The HCA will also sanction Rs. 1 lakh each to the District Associations to start Inter-schools tournament from this season as part of the Talent Hunt Programme to be launched from November in coordination with Deccan Chargers Holdings.

A full-fledged Academy is being planned exclusively for district players at Uppal. Sridhar said that former Ranji star Kanwaljit Singh will be the head coach of the districts talent hunt programme and the young talent can be spotted and developed either for the Hyderabad state teams or for Deccan Chargers.

The other major decisions include the appointment of former international umpire Ivaturi Sivaram as the chief umpiring coach for all the affiliated HCA umpires and also, an award of Rs. 1 lakh in the name of late V. S. Rajan for the ‘best umpire’.

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