DUBAI- An increasing number of companies in the UAE are stepping up their investment in their corporate cricket teams by bringing in international cricketing greats to the region to train their young players in coaching camps.
One of the major local cricket teams, ANIB XI On Top, jointly sponsored by Al Nabooda Insurance Brokers (ANIB) and Porsche Centre Dubai, has revealed that it is in talks with sports managers and agents across the world to fly in several international cricket legends from Australia, India and Sri Lanka to train their players in specialist cricket camps. The team’s managers believe that exposure will further boost the players’ confidence to play in high-profile matches in the region and beyond and build a formidable squad of next-generation players.
Several ANIB players such as fast bowlers Khawar Saeed and Abdul Arshad, along with star all-rounder Neville Pereira, have tasted spectacular success in recent local tournaments and have been appreciated by international stars such as Michael Hussey, Mutthiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram and Allan Donald. Khawar Saeed and Abdul Arshad also participated in the UAE leg of the ongoing Indian Premier League recently where they were asked to practice alongside batsmen from Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Daniel Jason, ANIB’s Vice President (Brand & Media) and Manager of the team, believes that it is time for UAE corporate teams to step up the game. “These interactions with the cricket stars will be an important learning opportunity for the team to grow and understand the intricacies of high-pressure matches in world-class playing environments,” Jason said. “Reliable and intelligent performance from every team member is what we seek and we will provide the necessary support for our players to attain top grade,” he added.
In the past 12 matches that he played in local T20 cricket, Saeed has captured 22 wickets with an impressive economy rate of 6.23 runs per over. He also captured four-wicket hauls on three occasions, making him one of the deadliest fast-bowlers in the region.
On the other hand, Arshad has taken 15 wickets in five T20 matches with an economy of 6.95 runs per over, while also being judged as the best new talent by ANIB & Porsche recently. What’s impressive is that though both bowl at intimidating speeds over 140kmph, they retain an enviable economy rate in T20 standards.
Jason added that ANIB will be hosting a regular series of camps with international players to ensure that its players receive the best of world-class training. “The presence of an international player cum role model in the camp will give our players the encouragement and experience to play in bigger and high-profile matches,” he said. “We are also looking to extend this facility to young school cricketers of the UAE. This way, we look forward to contributing positively to the development of the game in the UAE by identifying talent early and nurturing and supporting young players.”
Launched two years ago, the ANIB IX On Top team is marching forward with several UAE tournament victories in the kitty and hungry for more.