It has been one year since the former India all-rounder set up the Robin Singh Sports Academy in Dubai. He is one of three prominent Indian names to set up a coaching base in the UAE alongside MS Dhoni and Ravi Ashwin. And the journey that has largely been fruitful is set to take a major leap forward.
Singh is pleased by the progress his academy has made in a year and has big plans for the future. That includes a comprehensive set-up at the Iranian Club, Oud Metha, in Dubai, special programmes for gifted cricketers and a state-of-the-art fitness regime.
“The progress has been very good. Right now we are in the process of making a (cricket) ground at the Iranian Club and we are also changing the lights there. We already have nets, we have natural wickets. That’s huge progress,” Singh, who is currently in the UAE as coach of the Norther Warriors in the T10 League, told Sport360.
Dedicated training programmes, heightened fitness awareness and a well-rounded approach towards a professional career in cricket are the focal points of Robin Singh’s academy. For that, Singh has planned fitness testing sessions with nanoM Sports and Human Performance Clinic. That is just one aspect of being a professional cricketer. The rest, as Singh says, is all down to hard work.
“Many people look to go out of Dubai. We want to get people back into Dubai. So much international cricket happens here, with the facilities you can accommodate that. Of course, you need exposure by going out and playing in other venues like England, India, Sri Lanka. Wherever I have connections, I am going to expose them to different environments.
“Not only that, we will have special camps, special programmes. I want to focus a lot on fitness. I have tied up with nanoM who do a lot of fitness testing. They have some of the best facilities across the globe. I want to get some of these boys in there to understand that we can do programmes that are set out for them for the next three to four years,” Singh stated.
“I want to make sure people understand that there is a pathway forward. There is enough exposure here for any young kid to make it to the next level on the international circuit. You don’t need to leave the UAE for anything. What is important is for kids to understand that there is no short cut.”
Singh knows the importance of having good education along with developing a cricketing career and has therefore teamed up with Manipal University in India. “I want to see how we can offer scholarships as well for some of these young kids if they are interested. So that they can continue their studies as well,” he added.
UAE’s next stars
Singh’s academy has already worked with some recognisable UAE names, showing his institution is on the right path when it comes to nurturing and polishing local talent and taking them to the next level.
“We have a few players in the UAE team. One of the players is Rahul Bhatia. We picked him as he is also playing for the UAE national team, so pretty much deserves selection. There is another boy named Ansh Tandon who has been part of the academy. These are a couple of players who in the past one year who have worked with us and grown leaps and bounds,” the 55-year-old said.
Last year, left-arm spinner Bhatia played a major role helping the UAE emerge as Asia U-19 Western Region champions in Malaysia.