The efforts of Alok Choubisa, founder of the Vision Cricket Centre, Sharjah, and Chirag Suri, the UAE opening batsman, to promote the 50 overs format received a shot in the arm when national team coach Robin Singh motivated the rising players with his pep-talk during the All Stars Shield tournament.
The four-team tournament concluded on Wednesday, with Mavericks All Star (349/4 in 50 overs) beating Vikings All Star (219 all out in 48.3 overs) by 130 runs in the final.
"We wanted to promote 50 overs cricket among youngsters because kids here mostly get to play the T10s and T20s - the shortest formats of the game," Suri told Khaleej Times.
"Actually at that young age, you want to play as much longer format of the game as possible.
"So Mr Alok, the owner of the ground, wanted to do a 50 overs tournament to give the kids the opportunity to play matches."
And the highlight of the tournament was former India all-rounder Robin Singh's presence on the final day.
"Robin was there to see how the kids are doing in that kind of environment, the 50 overs environment. He had already seen that lot of the youngsters are coming through in the DT10 tournament, which was organized by the Emirates Cricket Board," Suri said.
"So they invited Robin as well to have a chat with the kids and motivate them. It was good to see him at the event because it was very motivating for the kids. Now, they really see that there is someone watching them, before at times, they were unnoticed. Now, they know that someone like Robin is watching their progress. And Robin is someone who wants to pick talent from the grass roots level and nurture them. So that's a very exciting sign for them and it's good for their development."
The standard of the tournament, according to Suri, was very high.
"The standard was very high because lot of the players from the UAE under 19 team took part, including captain Aryan Lakra. The tournament saw the best 30-40 kids from the country in the under 19 category," he said.
Choubisa, meanwhile, stated that the tournament had given some of the under 19 players a new role.
"We had four teams, we did this for the youngsters and even the coaches in the tournament were under 19 players," he said.
"But yes, we used the council-approved umpires. We wanted to give them the experience of playing the longer format."
Choubisa said the All Star Shield, which was also attended by Mazhar Khan, secretary, Sharjah Cricket Council, helped the youngsters learn the art of staying at the wicket.
"From the learning perspective, they have now learnt how to stay at the wicket. It was very encouraging for us to see that and now we want to do this tournament on a regular basis," said Choubisa.
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