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Desert Cubs academy prepares youngsters for longer format

Brisbane trip to help promising players adapt to the game at the highest level

Image Credit: Courtesy: DCCA
Players who will fly out to the Gold Coast as part of a Desert Cubs Cricket Academyprogramme to hone skills for the longer format of the game.
Gulf News

Dubai: Desert Cubs Cricket Academy (DCCA) have taken the initiative to groom budding players for longer format matches by flying them to Brisbane, Australia for an exposure trip. This comes in the wake of UAE team coach Aaqib Javed’s call to domestic cricketers to adapt to the challenge of playing the longer version of the game.

The UAE national team had recently struggled in longer format matches in Scotland and Ireland having generally played only 50-over and Twenty 20 matches back home. The Desert Cubs academy is looking to help in addressing this gap by flying out a squad of close to 100 cricketers including age group players from the under-11 level to senior players along with their coaches to Australia by this month-end.

Speaking to Gulf News, Presley Polonnowita, Head Coach of the DCCA said: “We are flying out a team of budding cricketers to Gold Coast in Brisbane and play a series of long duration day matches with quality opposition from the state. The main focus of the tour will be to groom the youngsters to play in the longer version of the game whilst also exposing them to different conditions and quality opposition. This will no doubt equip them with the skills, experience and knowledge to progress to greater heights in their formative years itself.”

Desert Cubs had in the past groomed players to adapt to Asian pitches as well as bouncy South African wickets as part of their plans to prepare players for the challenges of international cricket.

“We have been regularly visiting a number of Test playing and associate nations since 2008. Among the countries we have visited are UK twice, Sri Lanka thrice, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Oman and Qatar. The experiences gained through these tours have paved the way for a number of talented young boys and girls clinching a place in the UAE national team,” said Polonnowita, who is rewarding his academy’s star player and incumbent UAE Under-19 skipper Waruna Perera with an all-expense-paid trip to Australia.

“Perera had honed his skills under the able tutelage of our academy coaches under the grass roots development programme. Towards further encouraging Waruna, our academy will bear the entire expenses connected to the tour on his behalf,” said Polonnowita.

DCCA has gained sponsorship support from cricket-loving companies in the UAE to achieve the target. “Dubai Duty free brand which has been a longstanding supporter of Desert Cubs has come forward as the major sponsor whilst Matco Packaging LLC and Mega Gulf Transport LLC Dubai are the associate sponsors,” he said.

DCCA has a large number of qualified coaches at its disposal. The touring squad will be managed by Anoj Silva and assisted by Aaron Vedhasinghe whilst the individual age group teams will have Dinesh De Silva Silva, Prosanta Chanda, Aruna Bandaranayke and Ajith Weerakkody as coaches.