Exclusive: How UAE T20 World Cup star made his Dubai coach emotional

Vriitya Aravind was the player of the tournament in the qualifying event for the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup with 297 runs from five matches



Vriitya Aravind (centre) with students at the G Force Cricket Academy in Dubai before leaving for the T20 World Cup in Australia. (Supplied photo)
Vriitya Aravind (centre) with students at the G Force Cricket Academy in Dubai before leaving for the T20 World Cup in Australia. (Supplied photo)
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 3 Oct 2022, 9:37 PM

For a man who has devoted his life to cricket in Dubai, Gopal Jasapara's heart is swelling with pride as one of his wards will represent the UAE at the ICC T20 World Cup (October 16-November 13) in Australia.

It was almost 11 years ago that Vriitya Aravind, the UAE's star wicketkeeper-batsman, arrived at Jasapara's G Force Cricket Academy in Dubai to start his cricketing journey.

The foundation that was laid under the tutelage of Jasapara gave Vriitya the wings to fly high as the 20-year-old has now cemented his place among best players in ICC associate countries.

Vriitya was the player of the tournament when the UAE beat Ireland, a Test-playing country, twice as they won the qualifying event in Oman this year to book their place in the World Cup Down Under.

With 267 runs from five matches (average 89, strike rate 154.33, highest 97 not out), Vriitya grabbed the cricket world's attention during that qualifying tournament in Oman.

Now the UAE will look to Vriitya's bat for runs in Australia as they battle for a top two finish in Group A against Sri Lanka, Namibia and the Netherlands in the first round for a place in the Super 12.

Vriitya, who is reportedly on the wish list of several Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, has also now become the UAE vice-captain on the back of his eye-catching performances.

Despite his remarkable progress, the rising star still has his feet on the ground and his recent visit to the G Force Cricket Academy to pay his tribute made Jasapara, his first coach, very emotional.

"Vriitya Aarvind visiting the G Force Cricket Academy prior to the T20 World Cup and presenting the UAE shirts made our coaching journey more rewarding," Jasapara told the Khaleej Times.

Vriitya Aravind with G Force Cricket Academy head coach Gopal Jasapara. (Supplied photo)
Vriitya Aravind with G Force Cricket Academy head coach Gopal Jasapara. (Supplied photo)

"We are blessed to see one of our boys not only representing the national team, but also not forgetting to take blessings from a place where he actually started his cricket."

Jasapara saw the spark in Vriitya on his very first day at his academy as a nine-year-old.

"I have fond memories of his batting at the age of nine. He always had that determination to make it big. He was fluent at that time and a very smart cricketer. He is still the same," Jasapara recalled.

The UAE squad, which arrived in Australia on September 30, will play two official warm-up matches against the West Indies (October 10) and Scotland (October 12).

The CP Rizwan-led team will open their World Cup campaign against the Netherlands in Group A on October 16 before taking on Asian champions Sri Lanka (October 18) and Namibia (October 20).

If they earn a top-two finish in Group A, the UAE will qualify for the Super 12 and compete with the biggest teams in world cricket.

And Jasapara hopes that Vriitya brings his best game to the World Cup first round to help the UAE lock horns with the top guns.

"We all are very happy to see him play at the highest level. We will be very proud to see him play at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground and make everyone proud," Jasapara concluded.


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