A trip back to the roots - Royals spend time at their Academy in Nagpur

31 Dec 2021

As we all know there's nothing permanent except change. The way we work, converse and interact, all has changed. However, the need of the hour more than ever is to interact and engage with your peers and colleagues in order to extend work relationships, remain aligned and be able to find newer ways to establish cohesion in these modern times.

The IPL with all its intricacies and niches has transformed into one of the more high-intensive scope of work. And while efficiency and effectiveness are vital, the key focus is always on the process. At the Royals, there is a massive emphasis that is placed upon the mental and physical well-being processes of its professionals. Relaxing and unwinding from time to time to maintain that drive and appetite for success is something that is viewed as an imperative rather than an exception. As part of that process, the Royals' management spent the second weekend of December '21 at their state-of-the-art training facility in the small town of Talegaon which lies about 100kms from Nagpur.

Discovering Potential, Championing Dreams



“This academy and this entire facility is an embodiment of the Royals vision. It is an institution where talent across age groups grows, not just on the field but off the field across the villages surrounding this facility” - Romi Bhinder, Rajasthan Royals Team Manager who is also the mastermind behind building this facility.

At the heart of this offsite was a collective wish to go to the Rajasthan Royals Academy to understand and experience what the facility really stood for and how the on-ground staff there do things and create a high-performance environment for the young cricketing talent. The second was to further build on the learnings post a very intense IPL 2021 season, making sure that the team was in complete sync as the Royals approached the new dawn in the history of their franchise.

It is a facility which has seen visits from numerous Royals' players in the past, with Yashasvi Jaiswal being the most recent, having spent close to two months there before the resumption of the IPL 2021 season. The time spent at the Academy resulted in the 20-year-old maturing as a person, both on and off the field, with his heroics with the bat also earning him a retention spot on the Royals' squad for the 2022 season.

Best Management Team Across Global Sports



Keeping in line with Rajasthan Royals CEO Jake Lush McCrum’s vision of transforming the Royals into the ‘best management team in sports across the globe', Royals' itinerary was fairly mixed, with segments of cricket fitted in with some management brainstorming with a forward-looking view. Working for a cricket team, the sport will automatically be at the crux of it all. However, discussions revolved around the franchise's pre-defined strategic imperatives, and what the different verticals can do to achieve them with efficiency.

Whether it is building a distinctive brand identity, creating engaging content formats, understanding the fanbase and extending an emotional connect with them, expanding revenue streams, or improving on-field performance - every aspect of business was identified, highlighted and brainstormed upon to find suitable solutions which would enable the franchise to grow exponentially going forward.

Cricket Is The Nucleus



Apart from the learnings and development sessions, tennis and leather ball matches were also on display as the Royals management were engrossed in some high voltage action of their own. Some discipline was also necessitated into the visitors with some early yoga lessons one morning, followed by a short trek the next day, which was aimed at promoting physical well-being and getting familiar with the schedule that the athletes follow daily, along with a tree plantation drive that was aimed at maintaining the ecological balance.

"Playing cricket on a grass outfield has just been heavenly, it’s been a thoroughly rejuvenating experience!" exclaimed Jekin Rambhia (Senior Brand Manager), post one of the cricket matches.

“It turned out to be a rather memorable moment for all of us here at the academy. The idea was always to get the management to take some time off from their hectic office-based schedule and come down here and experience the work that is happening on the ground. To see them meeting and then interacting with the children at the academy was very satisfying,” added Bhinder.

Transforming Society Through Cricket



The highlight of the weekend, however, remained being greeted by the graceful smiles of more than a hundred small kids who are raised within the premises of the Innovative Minds School of Excellence (IMSE), an institution which houses close to 800 students who have been rescued from nearby areas. The school serves as a sister organization to the academy and takes care of the little wonders through charitable contributions from various sources including the Royals’ former and current players and staff, with the franchise also presenting an opportunity to each one of them to train at the academy, develop their game and become part of the Royals Family in the future.

With the franchise making a mark on society and building towards a brighter future through these children, members of the management, in unison, promised to commit on their part by continuing to serve the young ones through more visits, providing future guidance in every way possible.

All in all, the offsite was not just a learning take-away segment for the Royals management but also offered them the chance to experience a couple of days at the academy. With a first-hand view of the impact that their work has had on not just the cricket side of things but also on the lives of the flag bearers of tomorrow. As a return to routine beckoned, the Royals took home not just their learnings, but their thoughts and more importantly their encounters, aiming to now kick into gear a new cycle and a new chapter, hopefully, larger and more magnificent.