A cricket academy with a difference at Repton

Dubai: It was a special day for UAE cricket at the Repton School Dubai. For the first time, one of UAE’s rising cricketer Chirag Suri and senior most player and former UAE captain Khurram Khan along with UAE women cricketer turned coach Roopa Nagaraj, join hands to launch a cricket academy. All three wanted to give something back to the game by grooming cricketers for the future as the game had rewarded them with fame at the international level.

Speaking after the launch of the Front Foot Sports academy, Suri, who was a student of Repton school before getting selected to play in the Indian Premier League and become UAE’s consistent opening batsman, said: “I am happy to come back to my school and launch an academy here and give back something to the youngsters. Cricket has given me a lot and has taught me that hard work does have its rewards. Our goal is to inspire more young male and female players to learn the game under the guidance of established coaches. Today it is possible to make a profession out of cricket and our aim is to enable youngsters to become highly-skilled professionals.”

Suri’s initiative is being supported by his father Bobby Suri, who still plays in domestic cricket and has backed his son’s dream in becoming an international cricketer.

Khurram Khan, who defied his age to become the oldest cricketer in the history of One-day Internationals to hit a century at the age of 43 in December 2017, is a role model to many. “It is a great time to be involved in grooming cricketers. UAE team through the brilliant performances from captain Rohan Mustafa and Mohammad Naveed, who has come here to attend this launch, has won One Day International status for UAE for the next four years. I would be happy if I can help groom players through this academy,” said Khan, who played a vital role in UAE qualifying for two ICC World Cups.

Roopa, who has shown the way for women’s cricketers by not only representing UAE and becoming a BCCI Level 3 coach, said: “It is exciting time for women’s cricket as more and more girls are getting interested in cricket. With UAE set to play in the World Cup qualifiers there is lot of interest here and I have been coaching girls here for the last two years. I am sure with such good facilities and coaches our academy will surely produce good cricketers.”

Backing their effort is David Cook, Headmaster at Repton School Dubai, who said: “The UAE’s cricket team is on the crest of a wave currently and the sport has been elevated considerably in the past few years which has encouraged both girls and boys to take up the sport. We are very pleased to be offering our facilities.”

The academy is open for everyone and has four indoor pitches, five outdoor net practice area where two is being converted into turf and with floodlight facilities for night training.