My journey began about 6 years ago when I moved to Dubai - cricket was never a big sport but I started following the Indian cricket team, enrolled myself at a local Academy where I learnt the basics of the game and started believing in my own ability. My life changed when I received the best Batter award from England's Test captain Joe Root in 2015. That moment will always be something I will cherish for the rest of my life, seeing my hero in front of me was something extremely special. My parents encouraged me to push myself even more and keep chasing my dream! I remember the 2015 summer tour to the UK, we were all very young aged between 12-13 and our captain was only 12. That tour made me learn a lot about myself as an individual and as a player, we were pushed against the wall by some older and better cricketers but that experience only made us stronger as a group. I have been part of every Academy tour since 2014 and visited some terrific countries and met some tremendous people whilst travelling.
2016 was a big year for me, I was feeling on top of my game and played cricket almost 5-6 days a week, I was taking private 1:1 coaching after school whilst juggling school homework. I would get to school early to complete my homework to ensure I didn’t lag behind. The 2016 summer tour to the UK saw me win the best Batter award and score over 300 runs in 7 games. A few months later I was debuting for Kent College Dubai as a captain in the National School League where I scored an unbeaten 74 runs. That tournament also carried a greater challenge - the UAE selectors were there!
The February 2017 Cape Town tour, found us in tough conditions once again. No clue what to expect but a barrage of short pitch quick bowling and probably some young Ab De Villiers fan who will rock up and smash us all over the park, boy did we find him or he found us! The second tour game and we had already seen enough, the difference between boys that train 5-6 days a week and most of us ( boys that barely train 4 hrs a week together) that tour was a massive eye opener for all. It wasn’t a great tour for me and although I won the best Batter award I wasn't able to take away many positives from the tour. The day we landed back in Dubai was the same day as the UAE selections. I said to myself that I was going to try my best and leave the rest for the selectors to decide, I was asked to play a few balls in the nets and then asked to leave. I could not believe a week later I was named in the Dubai squad for the inter state tournament - this was basically a pathway to represent the UAE U16s. I was picked as an opening Batter and involved in a record partnership. That followed with another half century in the next game - there was a sense of achievement and pride as people started talking about me and how I could be the next big thing. However, I knew deep down that was only a start and if I am to be the best I will have to keep my feet firmly on the ground. After the tournament I was named in the 24 man squad for the UAE U16 and attended a 2 month high intense camp where we were put through our paces by the coaches & strength conditioning experts. Waking up few weeks ago and finding out I was picked in the final 13 man squad to represent the UAE U16 squad was quite frankly surreal. I know I still have a long way to go, I want to represent my school, my academy and my country with humility and dignity. Thanks must go to my parents for all the support & encouragement I have been given.
Vriitya (Year 11)