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Indoor Cricket Academy: Srinagar duo’s dream to nurture grassroot cricketers

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Mar 15: Until a couple of decades ago, warm-ups and practice sessions for most budding cricketers in the valley meant a jog around the park but now, they practice to their heart’s content and stretch every sinew to get better and better.

Like everywhere else in the country, cricket is quite popular in Kashmir too. Many youngsters pursue this sport as a career option. Yet, like everything else, the sport has received a cold shoulder from the state government. Hardly any decent facilities exist for training budding cricketers.

But cricketer Imran Dar and businessman Jahangir Ahmad Khan have taken upon themselves to right this wrong. The duo has come with an Indoor Cricket academy on the outskirts of Hyderpora bypass.

 

Imran Dar, co-founder, earmarked some land from his own property to set up the academy. “We started a small academy last year and set up a cricket pitch and nets in the area. We have received an overwhelming response since then,” Imran said.

The academy has set up a cricket pitch surrounded by BCCI certified green net where aspiring cricketers play. It is equipped with modern facilities, six turf wickets, indoor practice facilities, high end bowling machines, and a cricket stimulator.

The academy remains open 24*7 and has around 58 players of all age groups practicing at present.

“I longed to provide quality service and platform for young players to explore the game of cricket and have fun at the same time,” says Imran.

The young cricketer laments, “There is no dearth of talent here but platforms are few. After some initial hiccups, the dream of setting up an academy finally turned into reality last year.”

At the break of dawn every day, mostly teenagers gather at the academy.

Asrar Ahmad, 16, hails from Kupwara in north Kashmir. He has been here for the last two months and has shown remarkable progress. Asrar comes from a far off village and finds solace in cricket.

“My father and villagers saw me and encouraged me to concentrate on the sport so that I earn a name in the sports world. I want to succeed in cricket and live up to their expectations,” he said.

He said, “The grounds for practicing here are few and there we hardly get chance to play, as the space is already occupied by the senior players. This academy has come a great blessing.”

These cricket academy owners conduct trials regularly in the interiors of the state and scan the best talents.

Moreover, the academy is not restricting itself to boys alone. It wants to provide a fillip to the women’s cricket scene in a state where the game is associated only with men. Therefore, Iqra, a young tall girl of 18, gushes how the academy has helped her develop positive attitude and improve batting skills.

“I owe my fitness level to physical training during the practice. But more than that I feel a sense of liberation,” said Iqra who has been attending the practice sessions for the last four months.

Imran said that many youngsters still dream of playing for India. “If basics are right one can shine in any format of the game,” he said, adding that the main focus at the academy is on three counts — basics, technique, and fitness.

He said, “We reprimand if anyone take liberties with his batting. We advise them to stay focused and play long innings.”

On the progress report of the budding cricketers, Imran responds, “We maintain a dairy and note down the progress of players every day. We review their performance individually.”

He added, “We advise parents to focus on education of their children along with cricket.”


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Rasikh Salam banned for two years for submitting faulty birth certificate

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Mumbai Indians and Jammu and Kashmir pacer Rasikh Salam has been handed a two-year ban by the BCCI after he was found to have submitted a faulty birth certificate to the board.

Subsequently, he has been removed from the under-19 squad that will travel to England to play in a tri-series and has been replaced by Prabhat Maurya.

Salam, a pacer from J&K, made news when he debuted for Mumbai Indians in this Indian Premier League. He was the third player from Jammu & Kashmir to get an IPL contract – after Parvez Rasool and Manzoor Dar – and only the second after Rasool to get into the playing XI. He hails from Ashmuji village in southern part of Kashmir, which is often said to be affected by curfew and power cuts. Mumbai Indians picked him for his base price of INR 20 lakh.

 

Earlier this week, IANS had reported that Salam could be in trouble for age fraud after the Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education informed JKCA that the age Salam gave the board doesn’t match the records they posses.

JKCA and the BCCI soon got involved in the matter and a two year ban was deemed appropriate.

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Dhoni could be ‘exposed’ by Yuvraj’s dad after World Cup

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Mumbai: Father of recently retired former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, Yograj has struck again, and all the signs point toward former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

While the cricketer is busy preparing for India’s next clash against Pakistan on Sunday after rain played spoilsport on the much-hyped India-New Zealand clash, a recent video of Yograj has surfaced where he speaks about an ‘un-named’ player who is responsible for the ‘dirty politics’ in the Indian cricket team.

Yograj further goes on to state that this player is the reason that many players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and his own son Yuvraj Singh were not included in the Indian team at crucial points in time.

 

While Yograj didn’t reveal much about the player he talks about, he did mention that he’d make the complete revelations after the currently ongoing 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on earlier allegations by Yograj, who was also a former pace bowler, towards then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, It seems pretty evident that he is speaking of ‘Captain Cool’.

“I don’t want to take his name but he has been playing these dirty politics from the last 15 years. He has made lives difficult for Indian cricketers. I will make this revelation after the World Cup gets over. He will remember this for life that someone said something about him,” said Yograj.

“I don’t want to speak about him at this point in time because I don’t want the team to get affected during the World Cup,” he added.

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FIFA Rankings: India unmoved at 101

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London: The Indian national team remain unmoved in the June 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings released.

Following India’s exit from the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, India have had a change in coach with Igor Stimac replacing Stephen Constantine.

Under Stimac, India recently participated in the King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand where a 3-1 defeat against Curacao (79) was backed by a 1-0 win over hosts Thailand (116) in the third-place play-off.

 

GFX India FIFA Rankings June 2019

The Blue Tigers are set to face Tajikistan (120), DPR Korea (122) and Syria (85) in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2019 next. India enter the tournament as defending champions.

Meanwhile, in the global standings, Belgium continue to lead at the top having bettered their advantage over second-placed France who also stay put in their position, the same as Brazil and England at third and fourth spots respectively.

2019 UEFA Nations League champions Portugal have displaced Croatia to stand fifth while Spain (7) has gained two places. Germany (11 – tied with Argentina), Italy and Netherlands (both at 14) have also moved two places up.

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