Trainees of one of the Dubai-based cricket academies go through their paces in a virtual session. Image Credit: Credit: Maxtalent

Dubai: When the world had been adapting to a new ethos due to the lockdown for COVID-19 pandemic with terms like video conferencing, webinars becoming the order of the day - some of the leading cricket coaching centres of the UAE are trying to make sure that they are also using the technology with the aim of keeping their trainees busy.

With the outdoor sporting activities coming to a standstill for over last two months and online education becoming the norm with schools and colleges, the cricket coaching centres took the cue and set up a blueprint to start their workshops and classes on zoom throughout the week - a concept which has turned out to be a hit with the trainees and their parents.

Sudhakar Shetty, managing director of Maxtalent Cricket Academy, feels that such online coaching camps have come to stay. ‘‘When we started off, there were certain apprehensions about how the homes of each of the students - with varying sizes - can work as a replacement for the open air environment. There are certain shortcomings alright but in this new environment, it looks a very viable alternative to carry on with the classes,’’ Shetty said.

T.A.Shekhar to conduct online coaching clinic for G-Force students.

While the concept of online classes have been embraced by professionals for sometime now, with the UAE senior team now engaged in physical conditioning with the roadmap given by their physical trainers, there could be doubts raised as to how teenager boys will be able to take the idea seriously. However, being privy to a session of Maxtalent e cricket - where the fitness drills were being conducted by a coordinator while the coaching team was keeping en eye on remote control - made the idea a lot clearer.


‘‘A team of five coaches are conducting two sessions daily of one hour coach, making it 14 classes a week. We have broken up the course into the following modules: fitness (65%), cricket drill (30%) and videos (5%). Any aspiring youngster can now join our initiative from anywhere in the world - all they would need is a wifi connection, laptop, palmtop or a phone with a camera and a four square metre of free-moving area. The concept can work even after this phase passes away, say during the harsh summer in this region,’’ Shetty said.

G-Force Academy, run by Gopal Jasapara - a former Ranji Trophy player for Saurashtra and an extremely popular name in the local coaching circles, jumped into the bandwagon from the last week of April. ‘‘We are doing it in two ways, a one-to-session for one hour each where our coaches focus on finer points of the game. There is also a general class which we try to make lively with small video of best moments of the game, cricket quizzes etc.

‘‘We will be hosting a 10-session module with T.A.Shekhar, the fast bowling guru, soon. Regarding fitness drills, we have a consultant Ben Scott who joins us from England. There are three fitness modules on offer,’’ Jasapara said.

Desert Cubs Sports Academy, run by Presley Polonowita, have been using another innovative way of inviting Sri Lankan greats to join the trainees on zoom sessions for their inspirational stories. The likes of Chaminda Vaas, Romesh Kaluwitharana - both members of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning squad, are among those who addressed the trainees so far.