Dubai sponsor sends South African cricketers to India for training

May 30th, 2008 - 1:35 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, May 30 (IANS) Dubai-based Indian businessman Shyam Bhatia has provided sponsorship for seven South African spin bowlers to go to India to sharpen their skills at the Global School of Cricket in Mohali, Punjab. The players, who have been selected by Cricket South Africa (CSA) because they have shown promise as future national caps, will be joined by two coaches on the trip.

Bhatia, who was born in India, fulfilled his dream of publishing a book titled “Portraits of the Game”, in which he used extensive illustrations by former Western Province wicketkeeper and renowned portrait painter, Richie Ryall. The book raised over $200,000 for cricket causes around the world.

Bhatia, who has donated $10,000 to the cricket boards of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa and West Indies for cricket coaching of under-privileged children, said it was cricket that had made him what he was today.

“I have cricket to thank for so much of my success. It has opened so many doors for me, and this is a way of saying thank you to the game. I hope that this sponsorship will lead to more people from other countries contributing to changing the lives of young, talented and often under-privileged cricketers all over the world.

“It is a privilege to be involved. I am so pleased to be able to help, and India is the perfect place for young spinners to learn their trade. (South Africa’s) strength is in fast bowlers, (India’s) because of the conditions is in the spinning department.”

CSA Chief Executive Gerald Majola said: “I am so grateful for this wonderful sponsorship which could help us develop a string of exciting young spinners and help us develop a spinning culture. Shyam is a good friend of South African cricket and his generosity is much appreciated.”

Vince van der Bijl, General Manager of CSA cricket development said: “This venture helps us complete the spinners’ programme we have set up with the National Coordinator Shafiek Abrahams, who will be going with the spinners to India in June.

“It is ideal - we will not only learn from the experienced masters of spin but our young bowlers will be given the opportunity of playing in the intense heat and on very different wickets. That experience, too, for the future tours of the sub continent is very much part of this plan.”

The training camp will be held under the tutelage of Devendar Arora, who coaches India spinner Harbhajan Singh. The other coaches include Narendra Hirwani and Umesh Patwal.

The team will leave for India on June 3 and return June 15.

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