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Dhoni launches his first ever academy

India’s World Cup winning captain urges youngsters to take up sports to be healthy

Gulf News

Dubai. India’s two-time World Cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni launched his first academy at the Springdales School in Al Quoz on Saturday.

With thousands of children chanting his name ‘Mahi’, Dhoni cut the ribbon to officially open his academy jointly launched by Pacific Sports Club and Aarka Sports Club. The facility will be known as the MS Dhoni Cricket Academy (MSDCA).

Addressing the media before the inauguration, Dhoni said: “I am delighted to be a part of this venture and will contribute in every way possible to make it a success.

"It has been my dream to contribute to the game in whatever way possible. This is the first step in that direction. The enthusiasm of the trainees is what will drive this venture.”

Dhoni further explained it was the passion for the game that saw the launch of this academy. “It is not about making money. It is for the passion of the game and the children.

"The greatest way of teaching a child to play cricket or football in school is by creating that passion. “

Answering to a query from Gulf News on what made him get excited amid his busy schedule to have an academy, Dhoni said: “With social media around, kids are not willing to step outdoors and play. That in a way is leading to health issues among youngsters.

"So I have taken the first step in brining them outdoors by launching an academy. It will not only help youngsters become better cricketers but will help them stay fit.”

Dhoni also expressed his interest for coaching and said: “My playing schedule is packed but I spend a lot of time with my state Jharkhand irrespective of whether they are playing. Be it Under-16 and Under-19 I makes sure to spend time with them.”

Parvez Khan, chairman, PSC too echoed Dhoni’s views: “We are excited to be associated with a legend like MS Dhoni. He will spend time at the academy whenever he is free from his commitments to track the progress of the trainees. It is a big opportunity for every cricket loving child and also parent to be associated with the academy.”

Dhoni’s childhood friend and former member of the India Under-19 World Cup in 2000, Mihir Diwakar is the other driving force behind the academy with four managing partners — Mahmood Merchant, Sudhir Tripathi, Vishal Sindhu and Sundaram Pandmabhan at the forefront. The coaching staff will be led by former Mumbai bowler Vishal Mahadik.

The academy will have four turf, three cement and three matted pitches, spin and Swing bowling machine, Safety nets, Lights for night practice, Video analysis and even plans to conduct Systematic and holistic progress plan of every student specialised training camps by BCCI Level 3 coaches with focus on mental conditioning.