COE: The backbone of Australian cricket

Australia's Centre of Excellence developed a GPS tool to determine a cricketer's workload

Updated: February 21, 2008 18:17 IST
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Brisbane:To understand why Australia is so dominant in world cricket, you only have to visit the Centre of Excellence (COE) in Brisbane.

This is the nursery where 12-15 promising young cricketers from across Australia are picked and put through the paces. The bulk of Australia's cricketers - including captain Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke - all trained here in their early days.

And every year three Indian cricketers are selected under the Border-Gavaskar scholarship to spend five weeks here.

Established over 20 years ago in Adelaide, the COE moved here to Brisbane in 2003 when the Australian cricket board was looking to set up a more expansive state-of-the-art facility.

So reputed is the institute in Australia and the rest of the cricketing world, it would be hard to find a cricketer in Australia's national squad who did not spend some time honing his mental toughness and physical fitness here

Former Australia women's player Belinda Clark, also the manager of COE, says the institute has become an example to be followed in other cricketing nations.

"So many of Australia's current national squad have come through the Centre, it's become a role model for all other countries as well," Clark says.

"Besides the lush Oval, new stands and turf pitches, the Centre has cricket-specific training equipment in its fitness center, including indoor pools for recovery."

"But the academy is not just a training center. It also conducts its own extensive research programs," she says.

Marc Portus, who heads the Sports Science unit, says they've even worked on GPS to determine workload for each player.

"We worked on GPS a program from the national team all the way to the state teams to study the workloads on different players and therefore develop individualized fitness programs," Portus says.

"The preliminary findings suggest that bowlers run around 25-30 kms a day including backing up throws, fielding and of course bowling. So we ensure that recovery and fitness programs are more specific."

So while our very own National Cricket Academy in Bangalore is busy revamping and restructuring, it would do well to learn a few lessons from what is the world's most well-known cricket academy.

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