Every week, we feature a top performer from the extensive pool of cricket talent in the United Arab Emirates.
From the many blossoming cricketers in the region, we name a standout player from each round of the U-17 league organised by the Emirates Cricket Board.
Hrithik Bhatia is our award winner this week after his match-winning innings helped G-Force Academy to a 105-run win over UAE Desert Cubs Cricket Academy on Saturday.
The right-handed batsman scored 106 runs from just 68 deliveries to help his side post a mammoth score of 208/6 in the first innings.
Batting at number four, his innings included eight boundaries while he cleared the ropes on seven occasions.
Bhatia is an upcoming batsman in the region and was recently selected for the UAE U-19 side.
Bhatia’s U-17 coach Azhar Gul was full of praise for the young batsman.
“He is a regular performer, very consistent. He scored lots of runs in the NSL (National Schools League) as well.”
However, he was dismissed having faced just one ball when he opened the innings against Zayed Cricket Academy last week who won the game by seven runs.
“We switched him to the number four position this week after his duck opening the innings. Given that he’s a senior player, the middle order seemed more suited to him. We spoke this week about the responsibility he needs to shoulder as one of the more experienced boys.
“With his last performance he proved his talent and justified his selection for the UAE U-19 team.”
G-Force Academy was started in 2001 and has been a popular name in developing promising young cricketers in the UAE.
WHERE – Jasapara Sports Behind Park Regis Hotel, Next to Bombay Chowpatty Al Karama, Dubai.
CONTACT – +971-4-396 9994
E-MAIL – [email protected]
WEBSITE – gforcecricketacademy.com
Recently retired Pakistan cricketing legend and former captain Younis Khan is hosting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for cricket fans in the UAE.
Fans are invited to post a photo or video of themselves on social media with their purchased Twenty20 ticket, replying to Younis Khan’s message and tagging Abu Dhabi Cricket on their chosen social media platform.
On Facebook, Twitter or Instagram just search for AbuDhabiCricket, post your photo or video and make sure to use the hash-tag #AbuDhabiCricket.
Khan himself will pick two lucky winners based on what he thinks are the most attention-grabbing photos or videos on social media.
The winners will then be notified about their prize and be invited for a one-on-one batting session with Younis on the main pitch at Zayed Cricket Stadium, all during the two T20 matches between Pakistan and Sri Lanka on October 26 and 27.
Khan had an international career with Pakistan spanning 17 years, securing his debut in 2000. He went on to become Pakistan’s top all-time run-scorer with a final tally of 10,099, with an average innings of 52.05 and 34 Test hundreds.
He was particularly prodigious in Abu Dhabi, scoring freely at Zayed Cricket Stadium. He hit several centuries in Abu Dhabi but one that stands out was his memorable 213-run first innings against Australia in 2014, which ensured Pakistan won the Test series 2-0.
Commenting on the upcoming competition, Khan said: “I played one of the most memorable inn-ings of my life in Abu Dhabi when I surpassed Mr Javid Miandad and became Pakistan’s number one Test scorer. It’s exciting to be back and see all the changes taken place, particularly at Abu Dhabi Cricket. Zay-ed Cricket Stadium is a world class venue with a fantastic atmosphere.”
Abu Dhabi Cricket will play host to Pakistan and Sri Lanka for two ODIs on October 16 and October 18, as well as two Twenty20s on October 26 and October 27. For further information and for ticket sales visit www.abudhabicricket.ae.
The UAE will fly to Malaysia for the Under-19 Western Region Asia Cup qualifiers later this month after the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) moved the tournament from Kuwait due to “political instability.”
The team had been scheduled to travel to Kuwait on Wednesday to take on Afhganistan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Bahrain, Iran, Malaysia and the hosts in the 50-over competition that was meant to run until October 22.
But just days before their departure, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and the governing bodies of the participation nations learned that the ACC has pushed back the tournament and will now take place between October 29 and November 8 and named Malaysia instead as the new hosts.
The UAE will now travel at the end of the month to Kuala Lumpur. If they do claim one of the two top spots, they will remain in the capital for the Under-19 Asia Cup, which will begin on November 8.
Andy Russell, national development manager at the ECB, said it was a “frantic” couple of days but is thrilled that the team will be able to have a chance to qualify for the main tournament.
He insists the last-minute decision of the new venue won’t have any impact on their preparations.
“It was down to political instability and it pretty much delayed the tournament but then the Asian Cricket Council got involved and changed the location to Malaysia,” he said.
“I really don’t think it will have any impact on the UAE team whatsoever. We have prepared as if we are going to go to the competition and we are ready.
“It just gives us a couple of extra of days to get ready for the tournament again. I don’t think it will be detrimental to the team and I think the players will be ready for the tournament.”
With the new dates, the ECB have a few more days to finalise their squad for the tournament. Preparations for the event began early in the summer in June with a group of shortlisted players attending weekly training sessions at the ICC Academy.
Jonathan Figy, Ansh Tandon and Aryan Lakra are among the players hoping for a second chance of representing the UAE team when the squad is officially named.
The side will play a series of warm-up games, including a fixture against an English touring side before they fly and Russell insists there’s enough quality in the squad to qualify for the Asia Cup.
“What’s been good is that we have got players who are performing well in domestic cricket,” he said. “It really seems that they are at the right level and show they deserve their spots. They have worked hard and had a lot of preparation time. Hopefully they can maximise their opportunity.”