No time to rest for UAE's batting star Vriitya Aravind after Emirates D10 heroics

Wicketkeeper in the UK quarantining as he prepares for club cricket in Birmingham league

After playing an innings he described as being “like a dream” to win the Emirates D10 for Sharjah on Monday night, Vriitya Aravind’s celebrations were joyful – but brief.

The 18-year-old batsman’s teammates – one of whom had screamed himself hoarse celebrating his outrageous strokeplay – raced on to the field when the eight-wicket win was sealed.

They raised their young colleague aloft, danced a collective jig, then Aravind took a few quick photos with the trophy before having to leave as fast as he could.

While the rest of the Sharjah side were having a post-match meal to celebrate a title well won, Aravind was racing home, having a quick shower, packing his kit up again, then heading to Dubai International airport.

From there, he took a red-eye flight to the UK, where he is now quarantining, in the hope of making it out in time to play the first club cricket match of the Birmingham league season on April 17.

The UAE national team wicketkeeper is in his first year as a student at Loughborough University. He is doubling up his studies with playing for the university cricket team, as well as club cricket.

With the UAE not scheduled to play until August, he opted to return to the UK, having studied remotely from Dubai in recent months.

He travelled in good spirits, after an innings of 66 not out from 27 balls in the final which he ranks among his finest moments in the game so far.

“It felt like a dream,” Aravind said. “When the game finished, they picked me up, and all the experienced players were really happy for me.

“Umair [Ali Khan, the joint-leading wicket taker in the tournament] lost his voice and couldn’t talk properly after the game because he had been cheering so much.

“It felt different this time – a youngster performing in the big games. It has always been experienced players who do well in the semi-finals and finals, like how Rohan [Mustafa, who played the match-winning innings in the semi-final against Dubai earlier in the afternoon] did.

“It really felt good, like a personal achievement for me. I have never chased down a target all alone before.

“Even though I’ve had good starts, I have never been able to finish a game. It was good that I did it for the first time in a final, the most important game.”

Aravind’s haul in the final, which took him to third place in the run charts for the tournament, came against an attack that included three national team bowlers, Ahmed Raza, Zahoor Khan and Mohammed Ayaz.

“It was one of the most memorable innings I’ve played because it was against some of the best bowlers in the UAE,” Aravind said.

“I still can’t really believe it. It was just my day, because some of the shots I played, I’ve never played before.

“I want to play all formats. I want to play 50 overs, T20, and T10, and I will be getting two-day cricket in the UK.

“I don’t want to be regarded as just a T10 player, or solely as someone who is aggressive. I want to be known as an all-round player.”

Published: April 7, 2021 03:58 PM

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