Having won the battle with Covid-19, rising UAE star Aryan Lakra is now ready to make his Abu Dhabi T10 debut a memorable one.
The 19-year-old all-rounder was also in line to make his debut with the senior UAE team in the ODI series against Ireland this month only for Covid-19 to play spoilsport.
Lakra, who captained the UAE in the Under 19 World Cup last year, tested positive just before the start of the first match of the series against Ireland on January 8, which had sent him into 10-day quarantine. The Haryana-born player has now made a complete recovery and even attended the first training session with Bangla Tigers.
“I was hoping to do well for the senior UAE team. But it was not the ideal start. I played well in the practice game against Ireland and was really hoping to make an impact in the one-day series. But unfortunately, I tested positive. I have moved on now from that disappointment as I know there will be plenty of opportunities in future,” Lakra told Khaleej Times over phone from the team hotel in Abu Dhabi.
A good student of the game, Lakra never stopped learning new things about cricket even during the 10-day quarantine after his positive test.
“During the quarantine, I got the chance to chat a lot about cricket with Chirag Suri who is a seasoned UAE player. Chirag has always encouraged the youngsters. So, even though I could not make my senior UAE debut, I got to learn a lot about the game during that period,” he said.
“And I can’t thank Chirag enough for that. So those 10 days of quarantine was a great learning experience for me. I am sure it’s going to help me in T10.”
Lakra said it was also a great learning experience for him in his first training session with the Bangla Tigers in Abu Dhabi.
“I trained for the first time yesterday (Tuesday). It was great to be able to train after that break, to roll my arm over in the nets. Getting back was not very hard, it took only a couple of overs to find my rhythm,” the talented left-arm spinner said.
“It was pretty good, it was a really good bunch of quality international players that I trained with yesterday, so I was just trying to learn from them, picking their brains. I was just trying to understand where to bowl. We have a very solid coaching staff here. I am going to learn a lot from these people.”
With each team needing to field at least one UAE player in the playing eleven as per the tournament rule, Lakra knows there could be an opportunity for him to test his skills against some of the best white-ball players in the world.
“It depends on the team combination, so if I get a chance it will be great. But I haven’t really thought about it that much,” he said.
Lakra then doffed his hat to the Emirates Cricket Board for hosting domestic T10 and T20 tournaments.
“I think those tournaments (Emirates D10 and Emirates D20) were a good preparation for us. There was a good bunch of players in those tournaments,” he said.
“The thing is you will always be under the pump in the format, it’s important you understand how to survive. So it was a good practice honestly. I think both in D10 and D20, we had quality players, so playing with them, it really helped me. I have got good experience now in the T10 format.”
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