Rajasthan Royals chairman Ranjit Barthakur, who paid a visit to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, stated that his franchise are looking to open an academy in Bangladesh to groom talents in the country. Barthakur said that RR hope to have an ‘exchange program’ with the BCB.
In what could be a groundbreaking move for both the Rajasthan Royals and cricket in Bangladesh, the Jaipur-based franchise have officially declared their ambitions to open a cricket academy in Bangladesh. Ranjit Barthakur, chairman of Rajasthan Royals, paid a visit to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka earlier this week to introspect the infrastructure in the stadium and later stated that the franchise are keen to form a partnership with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) which would allow them to scout and groom players from the neighbouring country.
"We want to open a [Rajasthan] Royal academy in Bangladesh," Barthakur told reporters on Thursday.
"The plan is yet to be finalized but we are thinking about [an academy] which can feed the whole IPL from here. We would like to send our scouts to discover cricketers from the grassroots, to prepare them by honing their skills, so that both of the bodies (RR and BCB) can utilize their talents and skills.
"I am here to see how we can have an exchange program, for cricket, so that we can flourish jointly, as the eastern Himalayan territory, rather than territories of India and Bangladesh.”
In the recently-concluded IPL 2021 auction, Royals got hold of former IPL winner Mustafizur Rahman, and Barthakur said that RR are just one of many franchises who have always had a keen eye on recruiting cricketers from the subcontinent nation. Barthakur also expressed that RR are eager to tap into the growing fan-base for the Royals in Bangladesh.
"Teams like Kolkata, Chennai, and Mumbai had looked at Bangladeshi players as potential recruitment over the years, and we are definitely looking at them right now. They've got grit; they play under very difficult situations, so I think it's very important.
"One of the things is [that] our fan base here is quite interesting. After Kolkata and Chennai, our fan base is number three in Bangladesh, so we want to develop the fan base in Bangladesh and also in North-East India. That's why we want to promote that to get grassroots cricketers from the villages, much more than from cities."
The Royals acquired the services of ‘The Fizz’, but his availability remains a doubt, owing to Bangladesh’s national commitments in the next 3 months. Barthakur was hopeful of the left-armer being available for the entire season but insisted that the club will fully support the pacer if he indeed chooses to turn up for his country.
"We have taken 'The Fizz' in our team, we have bid for him. Hopefully, he will play. But his duty towards his country comes first, after that, it comes to the Rajasthan Royals. So, let me see when he comes, I hope he is selected nationally also, but if he doesn't, we are always there for him," Barthakur concluded.