Fifty young cricketers complete two days of intense training sessions under star batsman Nicholas Pooran at the Kumar Rampat Cricket Academy in Point Lisas on Sunday.
Pooran, 27, recently returned home from his Indian Premier League (IPL) stint with Lucknow Super Giants, and used his time here to host the first Nicky P. Batting Academy at Rampat’s well-equipped, multi-purpose indoor facility.
On Saturday, the left-handed batsman held individual technical and tactical batting sessions with youngsters ranging from Under-13 to Under-17.
National cricket Kjorn Ottley also assisted Pooran in the nets while left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein delivered some motivational words, and welcomed questions, in interactive sessions with different groups of players.
Pooran is a product of Rampat’s academy and saw it fitting to give back to the sport, and TT future generation of cricketers, by hosting this in-depth batting clinic.
“I just felt like, someone who came through the age group, playing international cricket and in IPL now, it’s a really good time to give back to the youths of the country and the sport.
“Today is about learning the foundation of batting. I believe it’s all about having a proper defence, whether it’s T10, T20, 50 over or Test cricket, which I’ve never played, it’s all about having the first step, which is the basic fundamentals,” said Pooran.
The youngsters were also involved in oral sessions on nutrition and injury prevention since Pooran believes these are key elements which are sometimes misunderstood by budding cricketers.
Of the 50 secondary school cricketers present, Pooran said the majority of young batsmen showed good promise and the clinic hopes to set a good foundation for them going forward.
“The whole concept about it is just finding a way. When we’re young we think we need to bat in proper nets, turf and indoor facilities, but the reality is that not many of us have those facilities.
“If you look at the some of the boys here, they’re batting in small places. This could be your bedroom, living room, backyard or anywhere. That’s the concept we want to have; to keep finding ways to make it in life in any profession.
“When they leave here on Sunday, I believe that most of them would have the proper knowledge about what is a proper defence, and then transitioning from a defence in to a straight drive,” he added.
Pooran helped the groups fix their batting posture, stance, focus and actions while batting. He went into detailed explanation with each individual on how they could improve their batting game as he shared the nets with each batsman.
Academy owner Rampat said the clinic was Pooran’s idea and is a continuation of the batsman’s recent sponsorship of four rising batsmen at the academy.
“He (Pooran) is interested in young people. He wants to see those children come up to par. He comes here from time to time to train and would always make aware if someone was not holding the bat right.
“He would observes small things and make comments. We appreciated his suggestions and know his heart is in the right place. Pooran has been training her for the past seven years. He has a lot of regard for the academy and the coaches here,” Rampat said.
The veteran youth coach confirmed that “celebrity motivation” goes a long way in a young player’s pursuit of his athletic dreams.
“This is something I’ve been talking about all the time. We know the motivational value of these people (cricketers). The coaching skills are not in question but we know they have that motivational aspect where children just get a start. It’s like an ignition in the brain.”
Fellow West Indian white ball player Hosein also had some intimate group conversations with those who weren’t in the nets at the time and shared the many experiences, moods and feelings of his journey through cricket so far.
The groups were vocal and questioned Hosein on his recent TT, West Indies and IPL performances. Discipline, Hosein urged, was key.
“It’s always good to give back to sport and where you start from. I was very happy when I got the call from Nicky P to come out and share my life experience and help in whatever way possible, to help the next generation to become better than us, or be the best they can be.
“You want to make sure that people who are coming behind you that their road is much easier or they are better equipped to handle stuff down the road. We just want to make sure that we create and environment and share the knowledge that we have to help people coming up to be better.
“When you start getting into certain teams, you always want to be a step ahead. To be an eye opener for these kids, to help them grasp as it as quickly as possible. Discipline is a way of life.”
The clinic was organised by Pooran, the academy and Powerade.