West Indies legendary batsman Chris Gayle with coach Gopal Jasapara (third from left) and G Force Academy’s players Shorye Chopra and Kartik Shekar. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: UAE domestic cricket is now famous for innovation in cricket. The coaches from the different academies here are busy experimenting various methods to teach youngsters on how to adapt to the various formats of the game.

Leading the way is Gopal Jasapara, the head coach of the G Force Cricket Academy. Recently he introduced five-set marathon cricket like in tennis during his academy’s tour of England. This tour by the academy was held during the Wimbledon Championship in England and hence this innovative method has been designed taking a cue from this famous tennis tournament.

This tour by the academy was held during Wimbledon and hence this innovative method has been designed taking a cue from this famous tennis tournament.

Speaking to Gulf News, Jasapara revealed how he introduced five-set marathon cricket. “I got the idea from the Wimbledon tournament and introduced it in our camp matches. Participants were asked to play five matches of different formats. Each team had to play 25-over, 20-over, 15-over, 10-over and five-over matches and the team which won the maximum matches from these formats were declared winners. It was more interesting that playing for 10 hours continuously in a day and the result was akin to tennis. Two teams will thus get to play 150 overs in total and batsmen may get five times to bat and for bowlers it will be an opportunity to bowl under five different format restrictions.”

Elaborating on his innovation, Jasapara said: “In each of the sets the number of bowlers that should bowl in the innings will be specified, thereby giving opportunities to many. My objective was to ensure that players are ready to play in any format when needed.”

Incidentally it was Jasapara, who introduced T10 tournament in UAE in 2008. The Dubai Cricket Council sanctioned this tournament which was held at the Zabeel Park ground. This tournament was played with bowling team having to use minimum seven bowlers.

UAE later went on to stage the first ever international T10 tournament last year involving renowned cricketers after Shaji Ul Mulk visualised this event. The second edition is now ready to be held in November this year.

Incidentally, Jasapara also introduced a T20 tournament with a ban on batsmen hitting sixes to restrict players from playing reckless and lofted shots. The rule was such that a player who hit a six will be declared out and many players sharpened their skills to hit powerful ground shots.

Maxtalent Cricket Academy’s head coach Sudhakar Shetty, during their tour to England this month introduced two-day matches of 160 overs and named their tournament as two-day Test match to teach players stay longer at the wicket. Presley Polonnowita, the head coach of Desert Cubs too introduced two-day matches during their team’s tour of Australia. Recently he even flew in renowned Sri Lanka cricketer Romesh Kaluwitharana to teach youngsters play innovative shots.