IPL will help cricket's growth in the UAE, says Chirag Suri
Suri is hoping that more players will emerge in the future that could rub shoulders with the best in the world
Chirag Suri remains the only player from the country to have been picked by an Indian Premier League team.
The UAE opening batsman was drafted in by the Gujarat Lions for the 2017 edition of the IPL.
"It was a proud moment for me and my family when I was picked for the Lions in 2017," Suri told Khaleej Times on Thursday
"It was pretty emotional moment because I worked so hard, I had made a lot of sacrifices. It was definitely a great confidence booster when you go out there, you feel like you are among the best in the world, you know, just by watching them and learning from them. It was an amazing experience."
Now, as the country is gearing up to host the richest cricket league in the world, Suri is hoping that more players will emerge in the future that could rub shoulders with the best in the world.
"IPL coming here is amazing because it's the biggest tournament in the world. It's very exciting that the tournament will be happening here. It definitely gives a big boost to the young players here," he said.
"It's very motivating for the young players to see these guys who will play in the same stadiums where they play local cricket. It's pretty amazing for the sport, it will help cricket grow here in the region."
CTK Mashood, Director, Tellicherry Academy echoed Suri's sentiments.
"As a cricket lover and a former India first class cricketer, it's a great feeling that the IPL is happening here again after 2014," Mashood said.
"All the young players in the UAE would be following these matches. More than 5,000 players are playing the sport actively in the UAE. So this tournament is a huge boost for these players."
Touchdown ?? Abu Dhabi??- KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) August 20, 2020
??After a long day of travel, sanitising and maintaining strict protocols, our Indian Knights have safely checked in to their hotel Rooms in the capital city of the UAE!#IPL2020, here we come! ??@imkuldeep18 @RealShubmanGill @prasidh43 @rinkusingh235 pic.twitter.com/kONxoBDMjx
Mashood, a former Kerala Ranji Trophy player, who played against the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in junior state level cricket, said exposure to top level cricket will help the rising players of the country.
"They have to play competitive cricket at a high level. Hopefully, the kids will get more opportunities to play top level tournaments in future. This will definitely help them get picked in high-profile leagues across the world," Mashood said.
Meanwhile, Presley Polonnowita, the founder and head coach of Desert Cubs Sports Academy, said cricket became bigger in the UAE after the country hosted the first phase of the 2014 IPL.
"I have seen this. The interest level of players and parents has gone up in the last four-five years and we have begun producing more players. I can see some of the UAE kids, in the future, regularly playing in some of the big leagues. I have been coaching here since 1999, but I have seen people are taking cricket much more seriously now in the last four or five years after the 2014 IPL," said Polonnowita, who had played with Marvan Atapattu, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Dharmasena in the Sri Lankan under 18 team.
Local players, according to Shiva Pagarani of Dubai Cricket Council, would have got a chance if not for the strict Covid-19 protocols in the 2020 IPL.
"It's a matter of pride for the UAE that the IPL is happening here. In a normal situation, local players would have been drafted in. UAE has a competitive Twenty20 team and good players in that format," said Pagarani.
And Gopal Jasapara, head coach of the G-Force Cricket Academy, says UAE will deliver a successful tournament.
"IPL in the UAE is like dream come true. Our best venues will not disappoint them," he said.
"After the lockdown, cricket has resumed at the world stage, but UAE won the jackpot of getting the richest cricket league in the world," the veteran coach added.
"It's a massive boost to the UAE and the country's cricket.
"It's like the biggest boost to local cricket lovers and all eyes now will be on the UAE."
Jasapara hoped the Royal Challengers Bangalore would finally win their first IPL title.
"I would like to see RCB winning this year. Everyone loves the team. Everyone likes Virat Kohli and his fighting spirit, his approach and work ethic.
"And, of course, the legend MS Dhoni will have big support in the UAE."
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