A new charitable initiative by UAE captain Rohan Mustafa has been given a boost after the country’s leading indoor cricket team pledged their support.
Having earned a string of cash prizes for his performances at a Twenty20 tournament in Nepal last month, Mustafa signalled his intention to start a small foundation in Pakistan.
The national team captain wants to help children back in the country of his birth with education costs, as well as give them the opportunity to play sport.
His teammates in the DBMSC indoor cricket team read of the initiative while Mustafa was in Kuwait preparing to play for the UAE in the World T20 regional qualifier.
Both their A and B teams won titles in the Saudi German Hospital Challengers Cup, an indoor competition played at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
The Dh3,000 winners’ prize would usually have been divided between the players, but a discussion led by Vikrant Shetty, their former UAE representative, led them to divert the funds instead.
“Rohan is part of our WhatsApp group and we knew from a news article that he was doing something great for underprivileged kids in Pakistan,” Shetty said.
“He was not aware of what we planned to do. We wanted to surprise him by sending him a video.
“I asked Saqib [Nazir, the DBMSC captain] and Amit [Chaturvedi, the team’s sponsor] if they would mind if we donate the prize to Rohan’s cause, and they were happy about the fact we were doing something good.”
The DBMSC side provided the core of the UAE side which finished fifth in the pool stage on the country’s debut at the Indoor Cricket World Cup last year.
As one of the outstanding indoor players in the country, Mustafa would likely have featured in that tournament were he not on duty with the senior national team in Namibia. He was delighted by the gesture of his teammates.
“The match was late and I had a game early the next morning so I was asleep,” Mustafa said.
“I saw Vikrant’s video on the WhatsApp group in the morning. I opened it, and I was not expecting it. They did a great job.
“We have been playing indoor cricket together for a long time. It was a great thing that the guys decided to do, to give money to support what we are doing.
“In my point of view, everybody should do things like this. Anything we can do can help, and that is a great thing.”
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Mustafa is yet to formalise the foundation. He plans to travel to Pakistan to start the process after Ramadan, and after playing in the ongoing Bukhatir League A Division tournament in Sharjah.
Shetty is not sure whether his team will commit to donating all of their spoils to Mustafa’s cause on a permanent basis, but he hopes they can help as often as possible.
“It is not a big amount but the cause was more important,” Shetty said.
“I don’t know if it will be a regular thing. It was spontaneous, something I thought of on the day. It was great to know the team were all in alignment to do this.
“As for the future, I really feel we should do something different. We win on a regular basis.
"News spreading about us winning is not especially great – but winning and doing something good for a cause is great.
“I don’t want to be too confident and pompous talking about us winning on a regular basis, but if we do hopefully we can do more of this to help children when it comes to sports and education.”