If you had asked Adithya Shetty if he would have seen himself in the UAE Under-16 training camp six months ago, his answer would be a simple ‘no’.
But now, this is where he finds himself and the opportunity of representing the UAE is now within his sights.
At just 12, Shetty is the youngest member of the 20 plus boys in the group, who all beat more than 100 hopefuls across the country in the Emirates Cricket Board Inter-Emirate tournament to reach this stage of the process.
In that competition, his bowling did the trick, helping himself to seven wickets to finish the fourth highest-wicket taker in his age group.
His reward is an intense training camp with the ECB set to identify the best for their final squad next month for September’s ACC West Asia Championship in Qatar.
While he is thrilled to have reached this far, the GEMS Modern Academy pupil is relishing to prove that age is no barrier when playing against older players.
“I was a bit surprised to hear that I got selected in the training camp after I got a call from one of the coaches at Dubai Cricket Council,” he said.
“It came just after I sat a school exam so to hear the news was pretty pleasing for me because I feel I’ve played very well.
“It doesn’t matter what your age is, it’s just a good feeling to take as many wickets as I did. I was pretty happy with my performances in the ECB Inter-Emirate tournament and I want to keep that performance high all the way.
“Obviously I know the training camp will be hard and it’s a series of trials but I will try my best to play for the UAE this year because it would be a great honour.
“Around six months ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself to have been in this camp but it’s all happening for me which I’m grateful for.”
Having been put through the paces in weekly sessions at the ICC Academy, he acknowledges he has to make the most of his opportunity – although the possibility of being overlooked for the UAE this time will only fuel his determination to return next year.
“I’m just going go out there and bowl. It doesn’t matter if I can’t get a wicket in the first balls, I can only do what I can with the ball,” he said.
“I will be saddened if I don’t get selected but it will just motivate me to improve as a player and practise harder,” he added.
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