Shoun Roger became the first youngster from a Gulf country to go and participate in Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under-14 state tournament in Chennai in 2014 Image Credit: Courtesy: Organiser

Dubai: A piece of advice from India’s legendary wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani has transformed the budding 15-year-old Shoun Roger into a young run machine.

Roger, who approached Kirmani for a tip while in Ajman sometime back, was told by the legendary wicketkeeper: “when you take the bat, tell yourself I am not giving my wicket to anyone.”

This advice had such a huge impact on Roger that he scored 620 runs with five half-centuries and a century in the Emirates Cricket Board’s UAE Academy Cricket U-17 League to bag the best batsman of the tournament.

In the Elite School League (ESL) conducted by former Indian allrounder turned coach Robin Singh’s Sports Academy, he scored 373 runs including four half-centuries and one century to bag the prestigious Man of the Series award.

In the Gulf Cup held in January, he scored 320 runs to also bag the Player of the Tournament award. Never before in UAE’s domestic cricket history have a player at all levels scored 1331 runs from just three tournaments.

“It was such a great motivating advice from a legend like Kirmani sir that I decided to follow his advice each time I picked my bat.” After thanking Kirmani, Roger touched the wicketkeeper’s feet and straight walked in for his training session with Robin Singh, with whom he has been training for the last three months.

“Every day, I make sure to spend three hours at nets and face over 300 balls. I work hard on my fitness. I don’t compromise on my fitness regime,” he said.

Roger feels that he is improving as a player each day. “The UAE Under-16 national camp too helped him improve my skills through the guidance from UAE’s team’s head coach Qasim Ali.”

Looking up towards greats of the game and wanting to emulate them has helped Roger a lot. In 2014 when Sachin Tendulkar was here for the Indian Premier League, he got the Mater Blaster’s autograph on his bat. “When I was 11 years old, I flew to India and represented my birth place Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and got selected into the zonal and state Under-14 teams. I scored three half-centuries in zonal matches and got selected into the Kerala state team,” said Roger, who became the first youngster from a Gulf country to go and participate in Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under-14 state tournament in Chennai in 2014.

“I have developed an attitude of never to give up when I go out to bat. I keep a record of my runs scored and I have made over 6000 runs and hit 87 half-centuries and 17 centuries so far. I have 52 Man of the Match awards and 16 players of the series awards,” said Roger, who has also performed consistently on cricket tours abroad.

“I emerged as the best player during Under-14 tours to Sri Lanka, England and Australia. In the Under-16 tour to India too, I performed consistently and in the under-13 and under-14 National Schools League here I won the Player of the Tournament award. By winning the player of the tournament in the Elite School League and becoming the first player to be picked by Robin Singh to train with Mumbai Indians during the coming IPL has thrilled me,” he said.

Roger’s father Antony is a club cricketer and encourages his son to work hard. Roger has been at his best during the last two months. “I have scored 15 half-centuries and three centuries in the last three months and I attribute it to my fitness. I want to maintain this consistency,” said Roger.