Vriitya Aravind is hoping his sensational form in the Emirates D10 could earn him a place in the Abu Dhabi T10 – and possibly even the IPL in the future.
The 18-year-old wicketkeeper has only just left school, but has been razing the bowling attacks of the leading men’s sides in the country in the new 10-over competition.
He has twice made scores in excess of 80, while playing for ECB Blues. On Wednesday, he had been well placed to make a century, before falling for 89 from a mere 29 balls.
His extraordinary run glut has shocked even himself. Before graduating to the UAE senior side while a 17-year-old A-level student last year, he had been regarded as a technically-correct accumulator.
In quick time since, though, he has forged a reputation for himself for clean striking, belying both his lithe frame and his tender years.
“It feels like I am living in a dream when I go out to bat, I have never hit the ball so well,” Aravind said.
“Especially given this is T10. I wasn’t sure if this was my format.
"I am usually known for staying 50 overs and playing the long game, but coming out in the first game and hitting some sixes, I got confident.
“I backed myself to do it again and again. I think I like the extra pace on the ball you get in men’s cricket.
"It means I don’t need to add much power, I can just try to time it.”
Aravind’s run-spree is neatly timed, given what is coming up in the game here.
The Abu Dhabi T10 is scheduled for November. Two placers in each squad for those franchises are reserved for UAE-based players, and Aravind’s form must mean he will have a number of suitors.
“The support I have had throughout this tournament has been unbelievable,” he said.
“When I’ve got home after the games, I’ve opened up my phone and been getting well wishes from lots of different people – not just my friends and family.
“This time last year, T10 was never on my radar. Now, it is a short term goal for me to play in the T10 – and to score runs there.
"Not just to be part of a team, but perform for the team.”
With the immediate future of the game still relatively unclear, there could yet be further opportunities to come.
The UAE's leading players are likely to be involved with IPL franchises – at least from a practice perspective – when they league arrives here in September.
Aravind’s form could even make him a potential bolter for a place as a replacement player, should any of the sides face Covid-related problems with their overseas players, and the rules be amended to reflect that.
“Anyone playing cricket, one of their dreams would be playing in the IPL – the biggest T20 league,” Aravind said.
“It would be great if that did happen, but for now I am just focusing on performing in every game I play.”