Desert Cubs Cricket Academy players at Lord’s after their training session. Image Credit: Courtesy: DCCA

Dubai: Mohammad Taquir, who captained the UAE in the 2015 World Cup showed the way for budding cricketers during Desert Cubs Cricket Academy’s just concluded tour of the United Kingdom. He captained the parents team, bagged the veterans player of tour award and inspired youngsters from the age of 12.

The tour was organised for youngsters to understand the English conditions. Five junior teams and a one parents’ team were created. From them two Under 12 teams (Desert Cubs Warriors and Titans) played 40-over matches while the Under 14, 16 and 19 teams participated in 50 over games and a two day game each during the 13 day stay in Leeds and London. The matches were organised by the Yorkshire County’s Pro Coach Academy headed by Chris Brice.

Speaking to Gulf News, Presley Polonnowita, head coach of the Desert Cubs, said: “The matches were well fought. Most of our players struggled to adapt to the opposition’s resistance and the situations and that’s exactly what we wanted my players to go through. The Parents Team was made up of touring parents of the academy who had a great chance of playing some Twenty20 games against some of the veterans in UK.”

Tauqir not only played but guided youngsters that included his two kids Omer and Obaid, who represented the Under 12 and 14 teams respectively.

The two Under 12 teams’ success in the junior six-a-side tournaments organised by Yorkshire Pro Coach Academy in Leeds and Vernan’s School of Cricket in London was a big boost. The U12 Titans emerged Champions in the Pro Coach Sixes while the U12 Warriors became runners-up in the London event beating some of the competitive teams in the local cricket circuit.

“The most exciting moment for the youngsters was the practice session at the historic Lords indoor facility, under the watchful eyes of Lords and Middlesex coaches. The players also got to test their batting and bowling skills in Hawkeye and pitch vision facilities. Former UAE Under-19 captain Waruna Perera scored heavily for the Under 19 team and hit a century while guiding his team to a last-over victory over a formidable Under 24 Haddersfield team,” said Polonnowita. The tour was supported and sponsored by Travel Wings, Dsports and Grace Tourism.

The outstanding performers of the tour were: Under 12 Warriors: Haren Shetty, Mayank Upadhyay, Harit Shetty and Arash Raheja. Under 12 Titans: Hriday Savnani, Vidura Melen Perera, Shrey Sethi and Connor O’Flaherty. Under 14: Nainesh Selarka, Zayn Raza, Mehreyar Haq and Taher Saify. Under 16: Dheeraj Devarajan, S.V. Sidhaarthaa, Saneen Latheef and Niel Lobo. Under 19: Ashley Lobo, Chethiya Gamage, Glenn Fernandes and Lionel Soans. Parents Team: Nakhwa Tanveer, Ravish Malik, Nikunj Dasani and Mohammad Tauqir.