A promising youngster has left the UAE for Mumbai to continue his cricketing education as he aims to make his dream a reality by playing for India one day.
Arnav Kambli, 13, travelled to India last week after making the cut during a tournament in Mumbai that attracted more than 1,000 young prospects.
Kambli was one of 18 boys to be selected after impressing in the Under-16 event and instead of making multiple trips between Dubai and India to test himself on Indian soil, he decided to make the switch and live permanently in Mumbai.
His major reason was to get as much game time as possible against India’s best young prospects in a competitive environment that would help him develop as a cricketer. He arrives in Mumbai on the back of an impressive innings in the UAE where he has picked the brains of many former internationals including ex-South Africa captain Graeme Smith, former India coach Gary Kirsten and ex-Pakistan batsman Mudassar Nazar. That’s not to mention the numerous personal accolades he has won after scoring tons of runs in as many matches.
The batsman/wicket-keeper will now play school cricket before joining a club in October and continue his road of donning the India jersey one day.
“The trials wasn’t easy as you are playing in different conditions in Mumbai but if you want something really bad, you should be willing to sweat it out,” said Kambli, who joined Dubai-based G-Force Academy as a five-year-old. “It was really intense but I was more than happy to get through.”
On his decision to move to India, he said: “Mumbai is a place that worships cricket. Anywhere you go, you see someone who plays cricket. My decision was easy as there are many players and clubs here and there are many opportunities to play in tournaments. The competition over here is very intense and there are a lot of grounds to play on. All of these things put together excited me and this is why I decided to stay in India to pursue my cricketing dream.”
Although he has just moved to India, he has set himself ambitious targets over the next 12 months. “My aim is to play for the Mumbai team within the next year,” he added. “I want to play well and keep improving and score as many runs. My passion is cricket and my dream is to play for India that is why I have chosen Mumbai as my first step to get closer to my goal.”
“It is with profound sadness and regret we announce that RAK Rugby player Nick Young passed away today (Sunday) at 2.45pm local time,” confirmed RAK in a statement, “following treatment from a serious head injury incurred whilst playing at the Sharjah 10s Rugby tournament on Friday 27th April.”
Young was left in a very serious condition following a tackle at the season-ending tournament, with the famous competition abandoned after the RAK vets player was taken to hospital after suffering an in-game injury.
Young, believed to be in his 40s, reportedly had to be resuscitated on the pitch at Sharjah Wanderers Sports Club.
Louise Palmer, chairperson of Arabian Knights Rugby, wrote in a Facebook message after the announcement: “It is with utter disbelief and sadness that we learn of Nick’s passing yesterday.
“Arabian Knights RFC extend our heartfelt condolences to chairman Simon Williams, team manager David Learman, coach Craig Chapman, the RAK Rugby players and Nick’s family following this tragedy.”
Heartbreaking news in UAE rugby, @RAKRugby player Nick Young passed away on Sunday following a serious head injury suffered while playing at the Sharjah 10s tournament on Friday. My condolences go out to the family & the clubhttps://t.co/d66kNc8cRm— Matt Jones (@MattJones360) April 30, 2018
RAK Rugby has been overwhelmed by support since news of Young’s injury.
“The club would like to thank everyone for the astonishing support we have received from the rugby family and beyond since we announced his injury,” the statement continued.
“For now there will be no further communication as we give his close ones and our members time to deal with this tradegy. The club is currently offering support to Nick’s family, friends and colleagues.
“We therefore ask that everyone please respect their privacy, as well as our own, as we mourn his loss.”
The Scotsman has been selected in Apollo Perelini’s squad as the traditional end of season international calendar takes a twist with the UAE opting not to travel to the Philippines to take part in Division I of the Asia Rugby Championship.
Samson, 30, has played international rugby for his homeland in the sevens format and played professionally for Edinburgh and London Irish in his youth, and now qualifies for the UAE via the three-year residency rule.
He is in the squad to play an uncapped international against Gibraltar on Friday. And even though it is an unofficial Test for a talented squad assembled by Perelini, Samson is still buoyed to be on the cusp of a debut for his adopted nation.
“From a personal point of view, I’m delighted to be in the squad. Although I don’t think it’s counted as an official cap, it’s still a huge honour to be selected and it’s a nice way to finish off what’s been a really enjoyable season,” said the Dragons’ scrum-half.
It’s been an cracking season for Samson at Dragons, with the club winning the West Asia Premiership after a feverous pursuit between them and rivals Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Dubai Exiles and Bahrain.
It was a first trophy for Dragons in four years and Samson is now looking forward to working with players he is trained to dislike for the most part.
“It’s a great opportunity to play alongside all the guys that we are trying to smash week in, week out,” he added.
“Saturday was a good session, it was more about getting to know each other and the detail and structure the coaching team want to play.
“There’s a lot of quality in the squad and it’s exciting to get the chance to put in a good performance against Gibraltar, throw the ball around and play some nice rugby.”