‘A Million Dollar Arm’ is what the scouts will try to unearth as they search for bowlers, nationwide.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) and Audi Q5 Fast Track, on Tuesday unveiled a new development
t initiative aimed at unearthing the next crop of great South African fast bowlers.
And according to Audi SA Head- Trevor Hill, the concept was born out of a movie on a flight, and as a result he got in-touch with CSA to forge ahead with the implementation. And as the saying goes-the rest is history.
The ‘Bowling Lab’ initiative will be the first to utilise state-of-the-art technology to assess and identify previously untapped talent from disadvantaged areas, in search for Bowlers or that ‘Million Dollar Arm’ for a month.
‘Bowling Lab’ utilises state of the art PitchVision technology to instantly analyse a bowler’s performance by comparing pace, line, length, deviation and bounce. And yours truly had a privilege to test his bowling skills on the lab, and let’s just say it went well. Ahem…
“I am really excited to be a part of an initiative aimed at giving young boys and girls who would otherwise never have had the opportunity a chance to be noticed.
To have the ability to utilise world class technology in disadvantaged communities will be a watershed moment in helping us select the right kids to get them into CSA development structures.
I can’t wait to see the talent we will discover, together with Audi, over the coming month,” says one of the scouts, ex-Protea speedster and development guru Mfuneko Ngam.
“’Now is calling’ for the vast array of unidentified bowling talent across our country,” he said.
Ngam will be joined by CSA appointed coaching experts including former Proteas bowler Victor Mpitsang.
Bowlers like Allan Donald, Brett Schultz, Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini, are among the former greats and Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Chris Morris among the current stars.
“The Audi Q5 Fast Track is an innovative and very exciting concept for South African cricket,” commented CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.
The scouts will visit Gauteng, Limpopo, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape over a one-month period with the first programme taking place at Kagiso (South Rand) Cricket Club on September 23 (Saturday) 2017.
“Audi is proud to be able to support CSA in driving cricketing progress through the technology of the Audi Bowling Lab and the new Audi Q5, says Hill, who promised to attend some of the programmes.
Meanwhile, Proteas new coach and former West Indies fast-bowler Ottis Gibson, addressed his first SA press conference on Tuesday.
His first Test assignment is against Pakistan at Potchefstroom on Thursday 28.
But already faces an injury plagued squad like Vernon Philander, Chris Morris, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi.
“To win Test matches you need to take 20 wickets and having your best four fast bowlers fit and ready gives you a chance to do that.”
Gibson said he had asked Cricket South Africa to get all the country’s leading players in action during the first round of four-day franchise matches, which started on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to get into any thinking that Bangladesh is an easy series,” he said.
Winning the Cricket World Cup in 2019 was a major goal, following a succession of failures by South Africa in global tournaments, acknowledged Gibson -the first black coach to take over the Proteas.
Perhaps, Gibson will also attend some of the Fast Track programmes to identify his future bowlers.