It's Just Cricket reopens its doors for Dubai's young cricketers
The net sessions have been planned to ensure social distancing of two metres. (Supplied photos)
It's Just Cricket, the Dubai-based cricket academy, reopened their training facilities on Sunday, allowing the aspiring cricketers to get the feel of the game again.
Having spent the last couple of months within the confines of their homes to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, It's Just Cricket students finally had the freedom to express themselves with the bat and ball at the Jebel Ali Shooting Club on Sunday.
"It's still early stages at the moment as we are opening today, however from our initial bookings, we believe to have around 50% of senior players (12 to 18 years old) to return by the end of the first week," Samuel Charnley, International Director of Cricket at It's Just Cricket, told Khaleej Times.
"We also know from previous years that young people are dealing with exams and with the hotter weather, so there are other factors which may mean children do not return to cricket right away.
"We have also been running a free online programme for the last six weeks which has seen over 550 participants from our academy and beyond get involved for our cricket at home sessions."
As the authorities have now cleared the way for people take part in sporting activities, Charnley knows his academy still has a big role to play.
"Our health and safety checklist and risk assessments have changed and become more specific to Covid-19 to ensure we are fully prepared," Charnley said.
"My role is to provide a safe and challenging environment for a player to develop him/herself on and off the field. The coaches will be reminding our young players of the rules, including the social distancing of 2-metres.
"We are also strictly following the government guidelines and recommendations by Dubai Sports Council. All of our staff are being trained on the new guidelines from the government and Dubai Sports Council."
Charnley then gave a glimpse into the measures his academy has taken.
"We start each session by recording the temperature of all staff, all coaches wear masks and gloves throughout each session. We thoroughly clean all equipment before and after the session. Each child who attends is required to purchase an It's Just Cricket cricket ball and this will be used solely by them for all sessions," he said.
"We are checking and recording the temperature of all children who attend, and they are required to wear masks throughout the training.
"Also, parents have to pre-register young cricketers for sessions along with an Emirates ID/ passport copy to ensure they are over the age of 12. The groups are split into a maximum of five in the nets. All of our sessions are planned to ensure social distancing of a minimum of 2-metres is adhered to throughout," said Charnley.
The academy also invited some big names to share their experience with the students through webinars in the past two months.
"Our webinars were a huge success and were open to the whole community. Our latest webinars were with ex-England assistant coach Paul Farbrace, current West Indies cricket captain Jason Holder and current Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer. This was fantastic for our community and we plan on organising more," Charnley said.
"We also organised fun quizzes to make sure our community could enjoy social interaction with peers. We have been particularly active on social media with digital skills videos, fun challenges to win cricket bats from UZ sports, international challenges with involvement from International players such as George Munsey, personalised diet plans for players and more!"