Former squash world number one Peter Nicol started a three-day coaching clinic in Mumbai on Tuesday in a bid to take the physically demanding sport in India to a higher level.
The Aberdeen-born Scot, World Open champion in 1999, joined the Mumbai-based World Squash Academy as its head coach and founder-member, it was announced by its director Amar Haksar at a media conference.
"I have joined hands with Peter to form the WSA in an effort to promote the game nationally and internationally by creating development programmes for those interested in playing competitive and/or recreational squash," Haksar said.
"We teach the beginners the fundamentals, while the advanced group are trained how to cope at the competitive level, sparring with one another and match play. We also emphasise on fitness," he added.
Nicol will visit India on two or more occasions each year to conduct specialised and intense clinics for the WSA's competitive players. The academy's programme is supported by top Indian players like Mahesh Mangaonkar, Raghav Mehrotra and Vikas Jhangra, according to Haksar.
Nicol, who defeated squash legend Jansher Khan of Pakistan to win the Mahindra Open in Mumbai in 1997 and was the world number one for five years, said Indian players are talented but it will take some time for them to reach the top.
"Indian players are good but it will take them some time to reach the top. I have trained with Ritwik Bhattacharya and can say he's a much improved player now than in the past," said Nicol, who retired from the game at the age of 33.
Talking about the decline of Pakistan as a squash power, after the glorious days of Jehangir and Jansher Khan, Nicol said that while India's western neighbours were unable to produce a top-ten player for some time, other countries, especially Egypt, have made tremendous strides in the racquet game.
"After Jansher Pakistan have not produced a great player while others like Egypt have come up," he said.
The former world champion said that to excel in the game one needs to be tactically brilliant and possess great mental and physical strength.
Nicol said now that squash has lost a chance to be a competitive sport at the 2012 London Olympics, they have to set their sights on the 2016 Games.
"Squash has become more exciting and dynamic now," was his opinion on the status of the game at present.