Dubai, Mar 7: One of the most prominent football clubs in the UAE, Al Nasr Sports Club opened a new chapter in their club’s history by being the first local club to open a cricket academy at their premises. Established in 1945, one of the oldest clubs in the UAE which has won several trophies in local soccer now want their members as well as the locals to learn the nuances of cricket and one day be able to field an all local cricket side that will play against the best in the game. The Maxtalent cricket academy opened its operations at the famous football club in Dubai
At a brief opening ceremony, the training facility was inaugurated by Omran Al Jassim, Asst. Manager of Al Nasr Club in the presence of other club officials and invited guests. “This is not your club but your home” said Omran as he opened the net practice facilities by smashing a cricket ball out of the ground. Present on the occasion were trainees from Maxtalent as well as eager parents of the trainees.
Currently, the UAE cricket team consists of several expatriates who have managed to fulfill the qualification rule of residing in the country for a minimum number of years laid down by the Internatinal Cricket Conference (ICC) to get selected for UAE. Players from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka can be seen wearing the UAE colours as they turn out in various international matches. There are very few locals who have been attracted to the game. And those who have managed to be in the side have inadvertently played the game in the sub continent while schooling there probably. The main game for UAE has always been soccer at all times.
Maxtalent headed by Managing Director Sudhakar Shetty has been permitted to open the cricket academy at the Al Nasr Club which will have four cement wickets where cricket can be played at any time of the year. Sudhaker said that there will also be a matting wicket in place by the end of March and a turf wicket in due course at the Al Nasr club venue.
Sudhaker hoped that with this facility right in the heart of a famous club, the UAE nationals especially will begin to take interest and eventually be able to have an inter club cricket tournament among the local teams. The Maxtalent organisation which especially caters to cricket development has already churned out about 80 players out of which 5 have represented the UAE team at various age groups in international matches. With cricket centres in Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Dubai he said that there will be more players getting into the coaching stream. He was pleased to announce that one local has already registered at the Al Nasr Club to be trained under Maxtalent. There are coaches from countries like South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and UAE who coach the youngsters as they aim to become top class cricketers.
The excitement and interest shown by the youngsters was unbelievable at the Al Nasr ground during the opening ceremony. Dressed in white flannels one could see the lads practising their cricket skills just as the guests arrived. There was this big built Inzy style cricketer Saqib Khan who had just appeared at one of his school exams earlier and rushed to the ground to attend the practice session. The Tamilnadu youngster is lucky to get superb support from his father Ismail Khan and has already toured with teen UAE teams to various countries. With proper coaching and backing young cricketers like Saqib can go a long way in achieving their goals of becoming top rated cricketers.
Sudhaker, like a true cricket missionary has converted the local Al Nasr club officials in embracing the religion of cricket. Very soon he will take his cricket gospel and spread it all around the other football clubs of the UAE. More clubs will get converted into the religion of cricket one hopes.
With Al Nasr Club opening its doors for cricket, all the other local clubs too will look at the opportunity of introducing the game to their members. One should admire the initiative by Sudhaker whose livewire personality ensures that he is here, there and everywhere to ensure that Maxtalent Cricket Academy is a success story. With the success,
there shoul be endless UAE cricketers taking the mantle and meeting the ball with the bat in their quest for cricket glory with resounding success. From soccer to cricket – what a transformation that will be !
By Denzil Fernandes