GEMS Heritage Indian School, in partnership with ESM (East Sports Management), on Friday inaugurated GEMS Heritage Cricket Academy, a world-class facility with state-of-the-art technology, an enhanced curriculum and ICC-qualified coaches, all designed to offer young cricketers unmatched training, support and opportunities to play matches.
With West Indies cricketing legend Brian Lara as the guest of honour, the event was held on the grounds of GEMS Heritage Indian School and included a girls’ and boys’ T10 cricket match, a variety of cricketing activities, inspirational speeches and an official unveiling of the Heritage Plaque, marking the launch of not just the new academy, but also the Heritage Cricket Cup.
To cheers from spectating students and their families, Lara took to the crease at the start of the girls’ match and later tossed the coin for the boys’ game.
Sunny Varkey, GEMS Education founder, said: “I am proud to see the establishment of such an important initiative to promote cricket – a sport so loved in India, my home country, as well as in the UAE, my home. I am also immensely pleased to see this special academy come to fruition as one of the standout USPs of GEMS Heritage Indian School.
“We are laying the foundations of a glorious cricketing future for our students, the school, GEMS Education and the nation as a whole, and I look forward to seeing the cricketing stars of tomorrow develop their skills today in our academy.”
Legendary batsman Lara, who is considered as one of the all-time greats, said: “I’m delighted to be a part of this great moment at GEMS Heritage Indian School. It was great talking to Sunny Varkey and understanding the school’s association with the tournament, along with the broader vision of promoting the best cricket experience in the UAE.
“ School cricket is the life and soul of this beautiful game, and where the passion to play at the highest level comes from for any international cricketer. Knowing that Dubai is a melting pot of talented players from around the world, I certainly believe the Heritage Cricket Cup will be an amazing experience and a tournament that will set the standard of youth cricket in the country for a very long time.”
Darryl Bloud, Executive Principal, GEMS Heritage Indian School, added: “The launch of GEMS Heritage Cricket Academy marks a memorable moment in our school’s history. Our sporting facilities lend themselves very well to the introduction of a large-scale academy and tournament, and I am delighted to be part of such a fantastic initiative – one that promises a rewarding sporting experience for our talented students to develop and hone their cricket skills.”
The inaugural Heritage Cricket Cup features players from 21 schools from across the UAE, with a mix of the country’s top up-and-coming cricketers.
The tournament aims to bring out the best in these rising stars, as the Heritage Cricket Cup provides important quality game time for young players to test and execute the skills they have learned and practised over the course of the season.
James Bowring, Managing Director of ESM, said: “The partnership between GEMS Heritage Indian School and ESM started with a shared vision of creating a school which would deliver cricket like no other. ESM is very proud of the outcome, as the facilities have been purpose built to give cricketers of all ages a wonderful place to be coached, practise and, most importantly, play cricket matches at every level.
“I am really excited to see talented cricket stars emerge from GEMS Heritage Cricket Academy in the future.”
GEMS Heritage Cricket Academy is open to cricketers aged three to six, who can join the Mini Smashers programme, as well as those aged seven to 16.
Offerings include ICC-qualified coaches, international-grade facilities, technology-driven training with Pitch Vision and BOLA Bowling machines, a variety of tournaments and talent camps, and free transportation to and from the Academy provided by STS (School Transport Services).
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