Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is the latest in a series of big names who has lent his name for a branded cricket academy in Dubai. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: There is some exciting news on the cards for cricket enthusiasts in the UAE as Rohit Sharma, one of the modern greats of the game and India’s vice-captain in the shorter formats, will set up his own academy in Dubai later this year. Set for a tentative launch in September, the academy will also have former Indian coach John Wright as a visiting faculty alongwith a number of other well known Indian cricketers and a support team of local coaches.

CricKingdom Global Private Limited, a Singapore-based company have collaborated with Rach Sports, a sports management firm, to launch ‘CricKingdom Cricket Academy by Rohit Sharma.’ The star Indian batsman will be visiting the academy at least once a year while Wright will visit every four months to monitor the progress of the trainees in their masterclasses.

In a statement made available, Sharma said: ‘‘I am delighted that CricKingdom will be launching the academy in Dubai. We can promote cricket in the UAE through the tailored annual curriculum, in-house mobile app for training and global access to CricKingdom academies. The amazing Rach Sports team under the guidance of Ravi Kiran Rach and Girban Chakraborty with CricKingdom’s experience in running the best in class academy operations would definitely make this come true.’’

John Wright

Dhawal Kulkarni, an Indian international and mentor with CricKingdom which runs four academies around the world so far (India, Qatar, Sinagpore and Germany), said: ‘‘Through CricKingdom, parents will have complete visibility on the progress of their ward - making it more transparent and impactful.’’

Chetan Suryawanshi, a former captain of Singapore for 10 years and the CEO of CricKingdom, said: ‘‘CricKingdom is a platform that connects cricket, players, coaches and students in an integrated ecosystem that drives seamless engagement, interaction and transaction.’’

Speaking to Gulf News, Chakraborty of Rach Sports - which is putting the project all together - said they are in the process of finalising one of the existing state-of-the-art facilities in Dubai and plan to open up registration from July, subject to the permissions as the city is returning to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘‘We are looking to keep the fees moderate at Dh 400 for two weekend sessions and there will be no admission fees. However, in case of any exceptional talent, there will be a provision for ‘John Wright Scholarship’ which will be shortlisted by the New Zealander himself. He has a scholarship running after his name back in New Zealand,’’ said Chakraborty.

Dhawal Kulkarni

Incidentally, the academies associated with famous brand names like that of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin and Robin Singh have been shortlived in Dubai so far while the local academies have continued to provide the UAE cricket with the stream of young talents. ‘‘Yes, we are aware of that and will be on guard on the possible factors that could go wrong. We have outlined a long term vision for the academy with Rohit whereby, we would like to pit the advanced trainees into more of two-day matches of 90 overs each which will test their basic qualities - be a batsman or a bowler,’’ the Rach Sports official added.