It is still early days for the ICA Cricket Academy but its benefits remain many as several lucky members of the 2017 intake discovered when they got to play alongside legends of the game such as Misbah-ul-Haq.
Most keen, young cricketers get to observe their heroes from afar but to watch them at close quarters is a treat afforded to only a special few.
When you play with great players like Misbah and Saeed Ajmal you not only get an intimate view of how they prepare for cricket but also an insight also into how they think. As most coaches will tell you, talent will get you a long way but cricket at the highest level is played in the mind.
If that was a highlight, the ICA Academy team played two matches – one against The Essex Academy at Bishops Stortford CC and the other against Alvaston and Boulton CC’s development team in Derby.
There were notable individual performances in both games, with Rahib Ali starring with bat in the second match while Kashif Ali, Ali Hassan and Ahmed Raza all passed fifty in the first.
More Academy fixtures are planned for 2018 but most players ended the season better cricketers than when they started. This is broadly ICA’s aim for the Academy – namely to give opportunities to those talented cricketers who may lack the means for further development.
The Academy’s ultimate aim, though, is to improve these young players to the point where a professional contract with a county club becomes a realistic proposition.
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