In 2018, the Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals had launched two youth programmes - Royal Colts (Boys) and Royal Sparks (Girls) which had done exceedingly well with entries coming out in large numbers. Since the inception of the IPL, the Royals have been known for discovering young talent and giving them ample opportunities to develop and perform.
Close to 3000 children attended the trials in Jaipur last year. The selected group of talented girls and boys travelled to Nagpur for a high performance training camp. They got immense opportunities to learn from the Rajasthan Royals coaches and attended several sessions on nutrition and mental conditioning, which are key aspects of the modern game.
In a significant development, inaugural IPL champions Rajasthan Royals have announced the appointment of Australian women's cricket legend, Lisa Sthalekar, as the ‘Advisor - Youth Cricket’ for their junior programmes.In her new role, Sthalekar will be responsible for creating a year-round programme for the Colts and Sparks, which will include high performance camps and competitions for the selected individuals, she will also organise school tournaments to introduce many more youngsters to the beautiful game of cricket.
Speaking about her appointment, Sthalekar, who was a member of Australia Women’s World Cup winning team in 2013, said, "Rajasthan Royals has done exceptional work in unearthing cricket talent. They have then been successful in providing these individuals with the right platform to grow. More so, I am delighted to be part of programmes that are giving equal opportunities to talent across girls and boys, while also spreading the reach of the game.”"I am extremely pleased to join Rajasthan Royals as an advisor. I am looking forward to my role of identifying and nurturing cricketing talent, especially the girls, so that they can make a mark for themselves in the cricketing world,” added Sthalekar.
A former spin all-rounder, Sthalekar is the first woman to score 1,000 runs and take 100 wickets in One Day internationals. She scored 2728 runs and claimed 146 wickets in ODIs. The former Aussie skipper announced her retirement from international Cricket a day after the Australian team won the 2013 Women's Cricket World Cup.
Welcoming Lisa to the Royals family, Ranjit Barthakur, Executive Chairman, Rajasthan Royals said, “As a team, we are taking baby steps towards building strong grassroots programmes. The talent at grassroots is huge and has great potential, especially among the girls. We welcome Lisa to the Royals family and we are confident that with her efforts, that the team will continue to progress and excel in building a nationwide programme where every talented kid can come and showcase their skills, get mentored and trained by the best professionals in the sport.”