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Cricket amid pandemic: Back to the basics with a touch of technology

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 7, 2020 | Last updated on April 7, 2020 at 03.42 pm
Roop Razdan (front row, right) with his Simply Cricket Academy trainees and coaches. - Supplied photo

STAYING FIT AT HOME: Dubai is home to plenty of cricket academies, around 20 or so, and some of them have found innovative ways to 'coach' their wards, without actually being physically present

'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' This proverb may hold true considering the times we are facing right now. But then, humans have this amazing quality of adapting to situations. And if cricket academies in Dubai are anything to go by, they have found a silver lining amidst the gloom.

The game of cricket, a popular sport in the Indian subcontinent and a few other countries, has always stayed in touch with technology. And in these trying times, they have taken it up a notch, but with a mix of the old.

Dubai is home to plenty of cricket academies, around 20 or so, and some of them have found innovative ways to 'coach' their wards, without actually being physically present.

They are using online coaching tools, much like how kids are undergoing their schooling at the moment, but with a hark back to the basics.

With kids staying put at home just like their parents, they are relying on videos from coaches from their respective academies and are continuing the necessary drills at home.

"Our academy, like any other academy, more or less is reduced to nothing. For the kids, as well as for us, it was really challenging," Sudhakar Shetty, who runs the Maxtalent Global Sports Cricket Academy, told the Khaleej Times on Monday.

"Each of our coaches go online every week and post some videos of some drills to stay fit. Kids are doing distance learning from school so they are engaged three to four hours a day. So, we thought that for at least an hour or two, we could engage these kids into doing some physical activities including fitness and also going back to the basics of cricket - knocking, socks and ball knocking, tennis ball to keep the reflexes going. Dad and the son can also play, the family can get involved. And to make it more fun, we tell them to post the videos to us," he explained.

Shetty said that this will benefit them when things return to normalcy.

"Though the lockdown is boring, we are trying to infuse a lot of life activities to keep them engaged, us engaged and when they come back, they are in the right frame of mind and not rusty. We also have instructed them on their diet. I have a Cricket Simplified channel on Youtube so I also guide them through that. And in such difficult moments, it will help them," said Shetty.

The academy trains pupils from age seven to 18 and they have 140 kids who are on their rolls.

The Academy was to embark on a trip to Oman from March 29 to April 3. But the tour was called off. It was one of their annual tours apart from the UK and India.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that we protect them, guide them and show them the way," Shetty said.

Meanwhile, Roop Razdan, who runs Simply Cricket Academy, said: "We are like a family and we are in touch with each other. The kids are undergoing distance learning but when they are free, we tell them to do shadow practice at home in front of the mirror. Also, we have asked them to continue the drills and exercises that we have given them at home, but without disturbing studies."

His Academy coaches pupils from age seven to 15 years and they have 50 kids and eight coaches.

"We will come back better from this. We have to wait," he said of the situation.

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