Cover Drive duo to train with World Cup-winning Kirsten

Denzil Pinto 10:17 20/04/2016
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Lots of potential: Riyan Mohammed is looking forward to meeting Gary Kirsten again.

Two promising cricketers in the UAE will hone their skills under the guidance of World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten after travelling to South Africa for a first-of-its-kind exchange programme.

Utkarsh Agrawal, 15, and Riyan Mohammed, 17, who both train at Cover Drive Cricket Academy in Dubai, were recommended by head coach Kobus Olivier based on their potential and will train with Kirsten and his team at his institution in Cape Town this week.

Besides one-on-one sessions with the 48-year-old, their batting, bowling and fielding techniques will also be assessed and they will receive tips on how to enhance their nutrition and mental approach to the game.

The two teenagers are familiar with Kirsten, who coached India to 2011 World Cup glory, having worked with him during a clinic in Dubai late last year.

“This really is a great opportunity for me because it’s not every day you get to train with a World Cup-winning coach,” said Agrawal. “I’m really impressed by him. He’s worked at the top level and coached many strong sides so he possesses a lot of knowledge.

“When I worked with him in Dubai, he told me how to improve my batting by changing my technique and since then I’ve scored a lot of runs.

Learning curve: Agrawal and Kirsten.

Learning curve: Agrawal and Kirsten.

“Now for a week, I can work on many things and improve my weaknesses,” added the all-rounder, whose idols are Rahul Dravid and Brett Lee.

His team-mate Mohammed, a UAE Under-19 international insists it will be a great learning curve.

“It’s going to be good exposure for me and let’s see how I do over there,” he said. “I’ll give it my best and most importantly I’ll enjoy it. To learn from Gary will be very special as he was impressed with my abilities when he was in Dubai.”

Head coach Olivier knows Kirsten very well, having played club cricket with him earlier in his career in South Africa. W

ith more than 200 international caps and having coached South Africa and Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, Kirsten possesses vast knowledge of the game and Olivier is confident the boys will come back as improved players.

“He’s one of the best around and his record speaks for itself,” he said. “He’s a remarkable coach and Utarksh and Riyan will certainly learn a lot from him and his team. They are two very fine players who have a lot of potential.”

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