By Sudipto Ganguly
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Sachin Tendulkar waited five years since retirement before launching his own academy and the India batting great wants to take the venture beyond cricket's traditional pockets, he told Reuters on Friday.
The world's leading run-scorer in both tests and one-day internationals has joined forces with Middlesex Cricket to launch an academy for budding male and female cricketers between the ages of nine and 14.
"Along the way there were many guys who approached me but I was not convinced with what they wanted to do," Tendulkar said in an interview.
"If we are to do something for young cricketers then we have to be on the same page, the vision has to align. With Middlesex, that was the case."
Tendulkar accumulated more than 34,000 runs and 100 centuries in a 24-year career that came to an end in 2013.
Merchant Taylor's School in Northwood will host the Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy's first cricket camp from Aug. 6-9 while Mumbai will host one in November.
"It will be in India, England and other parts of the world. It's not necessarily just the cricket playing nations," Tendulkar said by phone.
"There are number of nations where there is interest in cricket but they do not have access to proper facilities. The vision is to spread cricket to as many countries as possible."
Tendulkar said the fine print of the academy emerged during extensive discussions with Middlesex over the last 10 months and a final agreement was reached only when both were convinced.
The academy, which does not mention the word cricket in its name, will provide training through a curriculum developed by the coaches at the county and Tendulkar himself.
"The vision is not just to have cricket academies but along with cricket we want to promote other sports," said the 45-year-old, who has been conferred with India's highest civilian award 'Bharat Ratna' for his achievements in cricket.
"We want to build clubs all across the world. Clubs where you will have tennis courts, badminton courts, squash, table tennis, swimming pools, billiards... We want to promote sports across the world.
"That's why there is no 'cricket' in the name of the academy. I would say global sports centre. That is what the vision is."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Christian Radnedge)