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Shoun Roger with Sachin Tendulkar Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Shoun Roger, who had a chance meeting with idol Sachin Tendulkar when the latter visited Dubai last year during the IPL, wants to emulate him.

The 12-year-old, who got his bat autographed by Tendulkar, has been making waves from a tender age.

Like Tendulkar, who travelled to England as a young boy with an academy and scored profusely, the Grade VI student of Our Own High School in Sharjah also toured England and scored heavily.

Last year, he flew to India and represented Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala where he was born, and his prolific run got him selected into the zonal and state Under-14 teams. He scored heavily at that level as well.

“If I have to become a player like Tendulkar, I should be performing consistently in every match. I know I have to train hard and so I make sure to practice every day at the Desert Cubs Cricket Academy. I was only seven when I joined this academy with this dream and they have helped me to chase my dream,” said Roger, who also bowls off spin.

Roger’s father Antony, a club level cricketer, makes sure he gets the best of training by travelling with him to all countries and taking him to clinics that former greats visit in the UAE and India. Roger has already received tips from the likes of David Whatmore, Bharat Arun, Madan Lal, Mudassar Nazar, Shehzad Altaf, Venkatesh Prasad, Romesh Ratnayake and Chandrakant Pandit.

“India’s bowling coach Arun, who was the Indian coach during the Under-19 World Cup in the UAE, was so impressed with Roger that he made my son bat for 30 minutes giving him many tips. Biju George, coach of Sanju Samson makes sure he is given good tips while in Kerala. Even Samson is keen to see Roger become a good player and inspires him with tips,” said Antony.

Roger’s cupboard at home is already overflowing with trophies that he has won from the age of 10. In 2012, he won the best player of the tournament in the Under-11 Inter Academy tournament. In 2013, he participated in Inter School Tournament conducted by Millennium School Sharjah and won the Player of the Tournament award. He also toured Sri Lanka for an Under-14 series as a member of Young Talent Cricket Academy and became the best batsman of the tournament.

In the Challengers Cup (Desert Cubs Under-14 Tournament) last year, he became the best batsman of the tournament. He toured England and cracked five half-centuries including an unbeaten 75 against Yorkshire. He returned with 360 runs from seven matches and bagging seven wickets. He toured Sri Lanka again and scored two half centuries against Sri Lankan schools and took eight wickets.

The exploits have given Roger the confidence to fly out and try to become a state player. Representing Thiruvananthapuram district, he scored 195 runs and picked up 18 wickets and automatically got selected to Kerala Under-14 team that played against Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. “I have scored 16 half-centuries so far and my highest is an unbeaten 97 so far. I am aiming for a century now,” said Roger, whose next target is to represent UAE in international cricket.