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 Alveston 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 Kasif 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.
The International Cricket Association continues to grow its ties with European cricket after its ICXI side played against an Italy XI in Brescia during August 2017.
Players for the visiting ICXI included Saqlain Mushtaq, Saj Mahmood, Simon Jones, Aamir Sohail and Owais Shah - Pakistan and England cricketing royalty.
After the match, which 1,800 spectators saw Italy win, Fabio Marabini and Moghees Ahmed, chairman of the Italian Cricket Federation and the founder of ICA respectively, held a press conference to announce the Italy Super League 2018.
The ISL will run during July and August next year and include cricket stars and coaches from around the world. Further details to be announced soon.
The competition will provide an added stimulus for the 40 plus cricket clubs that currently operate in Italy. Modern sport thrives on context and focus and the ISL will help cricket in Italy to develop and grow.
At present, Italy are Associate members of the International Cricket Council and their national team comprises mainly of expats from other cricket-playing countries like South Africa, Australia, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There are one or two Italian players but ultimately the aim must be to engage more of them, something the ISL and the star players who participate in it will hopefully inspire.
Once that happens the knock-on effect could be profound with other European countries in which cricket has begun to grow and gain a foothold, looking to organise similar tournaments.
As they say in England, the home of cricket - “from little acorns do big oaks grow.” If the ISL proves a success there could soon be a forest of such leagues from Amsterdam to Prague and from Oslo to Naples, with cricket and its fans the winner.
The International Cricketers Association is proud to announce its partnership with the Italian Cricket Federation to form ICA Italy. Representatives of the two bodies, Mo Ahmed of ICA and Fabio Marabini, chairman of the Italian Cricket Board, met at the St James Court hotel in London on 21 June, to ratify the alliance.
ICA Italy is set to stage its first T20 match on Sunday 13 August when an International Cricketers XI, comprising famous cricketers like Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal and Aamir Sohail, as well as England's Simon Jones and Sajid Mahmood, will play against an Italy XI. A gala dinner, with VIP guests as well as legendary cricketers in attendance, will be held the previous evening on 12 August.
The initiative has been welcomed by Mr Marabini, himself a keen all-round sportsman and cricketer.
“In Italy, we are working for the game’s growth and development” said Marabini. “The ICXI’s visit will give all Italian fans the opportunity to see the best international stars perform and have fun on our grounds. It is an exciting prospect.”
The match will help to establish ICA Italy as a body committed to supporting cricket in the country which it aims to do through a series of coaching initiatives and masterclasses.
ICA Italy adds to ICA’s influence overseas. Based in the UK, it has either played matches or helped to supply players for games as far afield as Norway, Germany, USA and Qatar.
The International Cricketers Association are pleased to announce that Rahim Ali, from the ICA Academy, will be flying to Norway to play in that country’s premier league. Rahib will be joined by Atif Sheikh, a fast bowler formerly of Leicestershire and Derbyshire, Sam Davis and Zafar Iqbal, a hard-hitting all-rounder from the Stoke and Staffs league.
It represents a great opportunity for the quartet to reveal their talent and mix with some of the legends of the game, none more than ICA’s very own Misbah-ul-Haq, former captain of Pakistan. We wish them all good fortune in their adventure.
The International Cricketers Association are pleased to announce Yasir Shah as Kent’s overseas player for the next phase of the 2017 season. Yasir, who finished as Pakistan’s leading wicket-taker in the recent Test series against West Indies with 25 victims, is set to bring his beguiling wrist-spinner’s skills to Sam Northeast’s talented side and wow Kent’s supporters in the process.
Yasir, who came to fame after he reached 100 Test wickets quicker than any other since pitches were covered, is set to play his first game for Kent against Durham on 8 June at the iconic St Lawrence ground in Canterbury. A modern marvel, his bowling should not be missed.
Later Edit: Yasir Shah takes his 1st wicket of Durham’s Barry Mccarthy for Kent County Cricket Club
The first part of the International Cricketers Association Talent Hunt is complete following three two-hour sessions at Luton’s Venue 360 on March 5, 26 and 27.
With an impressive roster of talent on display it wasn’t easy for the coaches, Sajid Mahmood, Ronnie Irani, former Essex and England all-rounder, Kabir Ali and Derek Pringle, all former England cricketers to make their final selection. Nevertheless the following players were rated as having outstanding potential and have been picked to represent the ICA Academy.
Congratulations to them, your road to progress begins here. For those players who did not make the squad, you must not be disheartened. ICA may well extend the size of its squad in future depending on many fixtures it secures, so there will be other opportunities to prove yourselves. Keep playing this great game.
The International Cricketers Association is proud to announce the launch of the ICA Academy at Venue 360 in Luton on Sunday 5 March 2017.
Derek Pringle and Sajid Mahmood, England former players will attend the opening and lend their extensive expertise.
The Academy’s intake will comprise 20 gifted cricketers aged between 16-24 starting in the Bedforshire are and moving swiftly across England on a trial basis watch this space. They will, over the course of the year, receive a series of coaching courses with the aim of improving them as cricketers to help them towards their dream of becoming a professional cricketer. Our goal is to give players exposure to clubs, minor counties, counties and T20 Leagues around the world.
Some of those courses will include masterclasses from some of the greats of the game. The experience and expertise of such players is a rare and valuable commodity from which the intake can only benefit.
The Academy will field its own side during the summer and play matches against local teams. There will also be opportunities to play against other cricket academies around the world, broadening experience and extending skills from a wide set of conditions.
Learning has to be done on the field as well as in the class room, practical as well as theoretical. Our aim is to offer a broad and deep cricketing education that will enhance the career prospects of all those who take part.
Working together with our excellent coaches, we hope to produce happy, talented and respectful cricketers, who do justice not only to themselves but the game as well.
WHAT – The launch of ICA’s Academy
WHEN – Sunday 5 March from 4-5.50pm
WHERE – Venue 360, 20 Gypsy Lane, Luton, LU1 3JA