Corrie van Zyl was the national coach from 2009 to 2011 and he also ran the high performance academy, so he knows what it takes for young cricketers to make the step up to international level, which is why his excitement over Cricket South Africa’s new Centre of Excellence at the University of Pretoria should make all cricket fans happy.
CSA opened their new state-of-the-art facility at Tukkies on Thursday night, ensuring that the best science and technology will now be applied to the cricket development pipeline.
“It’s sometimes tough to convince people that this sort of facility is what you need, especially when the national team is doing so well, but I believe you need something like this to sustain that success. To stay number one, we have to do things differently,” a delighted Van Zyl, the general manager of cricket, told The Pretoria News at the launch.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience seeing this come to fruition and I hope it will serve as motivation for all our young cricketers to be part of this. Hopefully the Centre of Excellence will bring that spark that will push players to go the extra mile,” Van Zyl said.
Building for the R30 million project began last April and the high-tech facilities are not just intended for the elite players of the national team.
“There is so much else that is important in the pipeline and this centre will address that too,” Van Zyl said. “Although we’d like the national team to be here too, I must emphasise that this is a commitment to all levels of our cricket. We will expose players from within the more mainstream part of the pipeline – cricket centres of excellence in the previously-disadvantaged areas, such as Fort Hare Academy and provincial academies – to expose them to the latest video analysis and technology to grow them and for us to broaden our talent base.”
It’s amazing that such a sleek, impressive facility could be built in less than a year and its beneficial effects should stretch on for many more years.
“The facilities are unbelievable and it’s going to be the best place for teams to prepare. As well as the indoor part, we have all the University of Pretoria outdoor nets, which can be set up to replicate any away country a team needs, as well as the L.C. de Villiers Oval field.
“This is a real cricket complex and I’m hoping it will become the nerve centre of South African cricket, somewhere where we can share knowledge,” Van Zyl said.