Budding cricketers in the UAE will get a chance to pick the brains of Ravichandran Ashwin on a regular basis after the all-rounder announced the launch of his new academy in Dubai.
His Chennai-based GenNext Cricket Academy and Kings’ Schools have partnered together to form the GenNext Kings’ Cricket Academy which will provide a unique coaching programme designed by Ashwin himself for youngsters to take their game to the next level.
Ashwin, who finished as the highest wicket-taker with 18 scalps in the 3-0 Test series whitewash against Sri Lanka, said: “This partnership is definitely going to contribute to continuous improvement in coaching techniques with a flavour of innovation and drive to excel.
This would open the door for the budding youngsters to be inspired by the current playing cricketers apart from learning the tricks of the trade and lessons the hard way.”
The Indian star will open the centre later this month and the brand ambassador and chief mentor will fly to the emirate in between domestic and international commitments to pass on his knowledge.
He has appointed former cricketer and CEO of Kenya Cricket, Kobus Olivier as his director of cricket.
Olivier, who holds the same role at Kings’ School, believes it’s a milestone step. “The GenNext Kings’ Cricket Academy will be the first and only cricket academy that is an extension of a school cricket programme,” he told Sport360°.
“Ashwin and his coaching team has designed his own training programmes which will be taught at the academy. I’m confident this will set the benchmark for sports academies and schools in the region.”
Alan Williamson, director of education at Kings’ Schools, said: “Kings’ are delighted to enter into a partnership with quite simply one of the best cricketers in modern times. We are massively ambitious in terms of our aims for developing cricket in Kings’ and at school level in Dubai.”
Akshay Khanna, head of business development for Kings’ Schools, added: “We are delighted to offer budding cricketers, both Kings’ students and beyond, the opportunity to make greater use of our outstanding coaching team, facilities and access to what is pegged to be the top cricketing academy in the UAE.”
Cricket in the UAE received a huge boost after Indian superstar Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced he will open his new cricket academy in Dubai.
The 36-year-old wicket-keeper/batsman has teamed up with Pacific Sports Club (PSC) as they launch ‘MS Dhoni Cricket Academy (MSDCA)’ and their operations in the emirate.
Together, PSC and MSDCA will be working hand-in-hand to develop and launch training camps that will hopefully become a breeding ground for future professional athletes.
Dhoni will visit the country next month after India’s ODI five-match series finishes in early September for a meet and greet and the 2011 World Cup winning skipper believes PSC could not have come at a better time.
“Sports has attained a global stature not just for fostering athleticism and sportsmanship, but also as a viable business platform that involves many different stakeholders, from small businesses to big conglomerates and organizations,” said the former captain, who has scored more than 15,000 runs in his 463 international matches.
“I am delighted to be a part of the club and will contribute in any means possible to make it a success.”
For Parvez Khan, entrepreneur of Pacific Ventures, of which PSC sits under, he is excited to be working alongside one of the icons of the game.
“Pacific Sports Club is excited about its association with Mahendra Singh Dhoni (popularly known as MS Dhoni), a superstar in the field of cricket sports,” he said.
The partnership means PSC will have exclusive rights to MSDCA not just in the UAE but other nations in the GCC, South Africa and the UK.
Dhoni himself will be the brand ambassador for the academy and will be hands-on at the PSC with frequent visits in Dubai.
Khan has promised that the new academy will stand out from the others in the UAE.
“While others offer just the facilities side of things, we will offer that at a high-level plus coaching and training as well as a strategic sports development programmes managed by some of our well-known and beloved sports personalities,” added Khan, who owned Capricorn Commanders – a franchise that competed in the inaugural Masters Champions League last year.
Based in Springdales School, Al Khail, PSC will soon announce details of other activities and will partner with schools and colleges in the UAE.
Khan also confirmed they will be partnering with schools and colleges in the UAE to offer PSC’s expertise in developing and managing athletic programmes, with a view to expand in other GCC countries, South Africa and the UK as part of its short-term growth strategy.
Having celebrated his 37th birthday this month, UAE veteran Amjad Javed says he hasn’t even thought about retiring and insists he can carry on playing until 2019.
All-rounder Javed has become one of the most experienced members of the national team since making his UAE debut in April 2006, playing more than 160 matches.
Yet at 37, the Dubai-born cricketer is proving age is just a number. While an unbeaten 47 remains his top-score this year, Javed has made an impact with the ball, taking 14 scalps in 13 matches.
Five of those came against the Netherlands as the UAE won the three-match 50-over series 2-1 earlier this month.
And the former skipper says if he keeps on producing performances like that, it’ll be hard for him to call it quits anytime soon.
“With this sort of performance, like how I’ve been performing, then it’s really good for me,” said Javed. “In my point of view, it’s a very good performance and if I continue bowling that way, I think I will have to delay my retirement.
“To be very honest, I’m really confident on my fitness levels and the Emirates Cricket Board is backing me and I think I should be playing until 2019 to help the team retain the ODI status and hopefully play in the next World Cup.”
He added: “I’m not thinking about retirement yet and if you see my performances also against Papua New Guinea, I took some wickets in the matches while I also claimed key wickets in the domestic game. I’ll carry on until two years from now and after that if there is a suitable coaching job for me, I’ll take that. I just want to continue playing cricket and help the UAE grow.”
With a part-time deal, Javed is one of 11 contracted players on the Emirates Cricket Board’s books. He still juggles his time as a professional cricketer between his day-time job at Emirates Airlines and while it can have an effect especially after flying long distances, Javed believes his game has improved immensely since the last year.
“The central contracts have really helped me and really pushed me to work hard,” he said. “I enjoy working with the guys most days and Peter Kelly (UAE’s strength and conditioning coach) is taking care of me by monitoring my fitness and form.
“We have changed our mentality in that we are now professional cricketers and you can see that with the Netherlands tour because of the way we performed.”