A promising young cricketer has turned down the opportunity to play in the UK in order to attend a selection trial in Kerala and enhance his chances of representing India one day.
Sharjah-based Shoun Roger, 14, was due to start his two-year scholarship to continue his education and develop his game at England’s Wellington School, Somerset in September, having received the offer in April
However, the all-rounder had a change of heart last month and instead of signing on the dotted line, will now remain in the UAE.
A call-up to the UAE national team is very much on his radar as well as his native country – India. To make that a reality, he will travel to India for the Under-16 Kerala Cricket Association District selection trials in November.
If he impresses in that, it could pave the way of playing for the Indian national team with the process also including Zonal and State trials. The trials are run under the BCCI, the governing body for India.
Roger, who won the Most Valuable Player in the Under-14 category of the ADIB National School League, where he skippered Our Own Zenith to glory in February’s final, had mixed emotions but feels he made the right decision.
“I’m not disappointed (to have not gone to England),” said Roger, who was part of the UAE Under-16 training camp over the summer.
“It was a great opportunity to play in England because it has a strong cricketing history. It’s something that I had to think hard but I have hopes of playing for the UAE and India, particularly and I feel the trials in Kerala is a perfect chance to make that happen.” It will be the second time he will be competing in the Kerala trials having attended the U-14s three years ago.
“It’s going to be hard especially as there will be older players in the trials,” he said. “But it will be a great experience for me. I will continue playing in the UAE and hopefully will get a chance to represent the country one day.”
His father Antony, added the decision was purely down to cricketing reasons, fearing his son’s dream could have been more difficult had he gone to England.
“We decided that if he went there, he will be there for two years and he would come back when he’s around 16 or 17,” he said. “The game is more advanced there but his chances of playing for India or the UAE would be even harder. We had to think hard because it was all about the stage of him beginning his career.”
Eoin Morgan is relishing the prospect of starring in the first-ever T10 Cricket League, to be held in Sharjah between December 21-24 this year.
This latest bitesize version of the game will feature plenty of iconic names, with Morgan turning out for Kerala Kings and the likes of Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq and Kumar Sangakkara all set to play.
"I'm extremely excited about it, the new concept of capturing peoples' imaginations in 90 minutes in the space of 10 overs really does test our sport to the limit," the 31-year-old, who captains England's one-day and T20 sides, told Sport360° on Tuesday night at the event's launch in Downtown Dubai.
"It encourages growing the game outside of the three main formats which is obviously huge and the love for the game over this side of the world is emphatic."
Our in-depth interview with Eoin Morgan will feature shortly on Sport360.com.
The United Arab Emirates will introduce a new cricket format when big hitters Shahid Afridi of Pakistan, India’s Virender Sehwag, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and England’s Eoin Morgan feature in a T-10 league in December.
The ten-over-a-side matches will spread over 90 minutes (45 minute each side) in Sharjah, the details of which were announced here on Tuesday.
Twenty20 cricket was introduced in England in 2003 while the first international Twenty20 match was held between Australia and New Zealand at Auckland in February 2005.
Since then the shortest format – the other two are five-day Tests and 50-over internationals – has become the most popular amongst the fans around the world.
The league’s president Salman Iqbal hoped the idea will kick off.
“Everyone has played T-10 cricket on the streets and this will give more fire to cricket and will be a big step forward and people will definitely enjoy it,” said Iqbal.
— Sport360° (@Sport360) October 3, 2017
The tournament will be as swift as the format, lasting just four days from 21-24 December with former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan also featuring.
Afridi, who retired from international cricket last year said he was thrilled at the idea.
“When I was told of the idea I was thrilled and requested that I want to play,” said Afridi, famous as Boom Boom for his big hitting.
England’s current one-day and Twenty20 captain Morgan was confident that T-10 cricket will have an impact.
“The whole concept is exciting,” said Morgan. “We all remember when the first time Twenty20 cricket was played and since then it (twenty20) has impacted the other formats.
“If this new idea takes off then I am sure it will also impact the other forms of the game.”
The four teams will be selected through a drafts later this month.
Misbah said the new formats will be easy for ageing players as well.
“Its an exciting idea and a good thing for players like me,” said 43-year-old Misbah who retired in May this year. “It will need just ten overs of batting and then fielding and at this age I can afford that.”