For many years now in Dubai, UAE the 4 Nation Junior Cricket Tournament is certainly one of the keenly looked forward to tournaments in the country. Organized by Colts Cricket Academy, based in Sharjah this tournament gives young cricketers either born in their home countries or in the UAE but holding their respective national passports to pit against each other. Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and UAE generally make up the 4 Nations that vie for this trophy. This year’s tournament has been a good run for the Sri Lankan Juniors here as the U-15 team convincingly outclasssed all other teams to win the coveted trophy. The U-12 once again were unfortunate to end Runners-Up as they did last year.
It’s quite surreal to watch these young bucks dressed up in attires matching their national cricket team colours and showcasing their cricketing talents. UAE has always been home to a massive expatriate base of cricketers who have either migrated here during their childhood days and made a name in the local cricketing scene or have played legitimate and quality domestic cricket back in their countries and moved base here due to non opportunities. Looking at the quality of cricket played by both the Sri Lankan U-12 and U-15 teams in this tournament, it just makes you wonder where the future lies for these aspiring wanna be cricketers !
The U-12 team has produced outstanding and all round siblings in Ryan and Dillon Bastians. Twins Ramal and Ranul Perera were dominant U-12 players last year and have now moved onto the U-15 ranks. The U-15 has already produced two exciting all-rounders in Waruna Perera and Zafri Zafardeen, who currently play for the UAE national U-19 team. Kulith Rabel and wicket-keeper Renaldi Dias are also currently been roped in by the Kerala Premier League T20 teams for the KPL bash next month in Dubai. Opening bat, Nelukshan DeSilva continues to be a consistent run scorer in local and overseas Academy tours. Lahiru Hettiarachchi bagged the man of the match award in the U-15 final with a looping off-spin spell that earned him a 5 wicket haul. Zafri Zafardeen ran away with the Man of the Series for his all-round consistency through out the tournament.
You will hear many more stories on all these and more youngsters playing the game of cricket they love and revere. Like all of these young cricketers, Andri Berenger was a Dubai based youngster who studied and played the game for fun in the Desert. His parents decided to move him to St Peters College at the age of 14 and young Berenger did not dissapoint them by going onto represent the Sri Lanka U-19 team a couple of years ago. Will any of the above names go onto replicate a similar story ? Only time will tell…