The coaches of Sharjah's PAK Hawks and GEMS Modern Academy from Dubai talk us through how their teams will be preparing in the lead up to the Under-13 National School League cricket final.
The NSL Finals take place on Saturday 14th February from 10.30am at the ICC Academy, Dubai Sports City. Entrance is free.
There will be an extra incentive in Saturday’s Sport360° under-15 National School League (NSL) final with the winners earning the right to test themselves against the world’s best youth sides.
Abu Dhabi Indian School and DPS Sharjah clash in a highly anticipated match as the inaugural edition of the tournament comes to a close at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
And the winning team will earn direct qualification to the under-16 Emirates Airline School ARCH Cup, to be played in the UAE in March and April this year.
Since it started in 2006, the tournament has grown rapidly and is one of the most popular school tournaments organised by Sport Arabia, attracting some of the best teams from around the world.
The NSL champions will join England’s Eton and Trent colleges, and the Kenyan Rhinos in Group A of the ARCH Cup.
And in Group B, a further two UAE teams – Zayed Academy and Grand Master Academy will compete alongside England’s Bradfield and Newhall.
With the NSL being the only unified school cricket competition in the UAE, Sport Arabia were keen to give the champions an opportunity to impress against the best.
Matthew Jackson, managing director of Sport Arabia said: “When we heard that Sport360° were running the first unified cricket league in the UAE for schools, we thought it would be a great opportunity for the winners of the under-15 category to take part in the under-16 event.
“We are aiming to develop the Emirates Airline School ARCH Cup into a big schools’ cricket competition. And we want to make this competition one of the best in the world.”
He added: “We’ve had teams from South Africa, Kenya and the UK take part in previous years and this competition only encourages the cricket at grass-roots level.”
The NSL final will be played in a T20 format, and Jackson believes the 40-over matches in the ARCH Cup will be beneficial to the winning team.
He said: “It will be a great opportunityfor the NSL winners as the UAE schools tend to play a lot of Twenty20 cricket.
“The 40-over matches will be a great experience for the guys to play this format and it can be a learning curve for the boys.
“In the Emirates Airline ARCH Cup, each team have their different styles of playing cricket.
“So I think this will be a great opportunity for the children to open their eyes and broaden their horizons in terms of cricket opportunities.
“Whichever team wins can look forward to a great end-of-season tournament.”
Sport360 rounds-up all the action from the National School League cricket Under-15 semi-finals at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
DPS Sharjah and Abu Dhabi Indian School will contest the NSL final at 2.30pm on Saturday February 14th at the ICC Academy in Dubai Sports City. Entrance is free.