Jhajjar, Haryana: Promising to do as much as he can for the rural talent of the state, injured India opener Virender Sehwag on Sunday said setting up a cricket academy of international standards was the dream of his father.
Sehwag on Sunday reached the Shilani Kesho village in this district in connection with the launch of his integrated sports academy, which was made functional last year.
The cricketer was accompanied by his mother Krishna and wife Aarti, who has been taking care of the school since its inception.
"It was my father's dream to set up a cricket academy of international standard. Our main motto is to see that it produces sportspersons who are able to earn a name for themselves and make their nation proud," he told reporters.
The multi-disciplinary academy will also impart training in tennis, horse riding, swimming, wrestling and Sehwag promised to bring in former baminton star Pulela Gopichand, tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi, former swimmer Khazan Singh and Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar for the cause.
Sehwag thanked Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led state government for giving him a piece of land to start his dream project.
The cricketer also dismissed controversy surrounding the land with local villagers claiming that they were kept in the dark about setting up of the school, which they claimed was not part of the agreement.
"We have deeds for setting up both the academy and the school. From earlier reservation of 5 per cent, I have now decided to reserve 8 per cent seats for local talent. There is absolutely no dispute," Sehwag said, adding he thinks fees being charged for the facilities being provided here were fine.
The Sehwag International School started functioning last year and has an intake of over 320 students with classes from nursery to Class VII.
A fortnight back, Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed a petition challenging Haryana government's decision to allot land to Sehwag to run a cricket academy.
Some Jhajjar residents had sought a direction for quashing the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) signed by the state government to transfer the land in favour of the cricketer in 2008.
It was contended by the petitioner that the land was allotted to Sehwag for setting up of the academy but he had set up an international school on the land and the school was charging hefty fees and as such the object and purpose of allotment was being defeated.
Sehwag's Krishna Drishti Educational Society was given over 23 acres in Jhajjar's Shilani Kesho village in October 2008 on a 33-year lease by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led government for a sports complex at Rs 3 lakh per acre to promote the interest of the residents of the city in the game of cricket.