WHEN MOST of the City cricketers are taking a break from the game due to rainy season, members of a sports academy are still sweating it out on the playground. St Michael’s Cricket Academy (SMCA) players are regularly playing soccer at MLB College ground to maintain fitness. All members of the academy have been instructed to play football daily.
The winners of a number of all-India cricket tournaments, SMCA is known for its professional approach. It is the only academy in the City that has instructed the players to play football daily during monsoon.
“It is noticed that players’ fitness deteriorates when cricket takes a three-month break during monsoon months. Soccer is the best answer to maintain fitness”, said SMCA coach Samad.
Academy’s secretary and senior coach Syed Shakeel Mohammad has instructed both junior and senior players to be report on field and play football or take up any other activity. “Every year, cricket season resumes immediately after the rainy season. In that condition if players are out of the field for almost three months, it is always tough to perform with the best in the tournaments”, said Shakeel.
Immediately after the end of the rainy season, all India cricket tournaments like Manish Agnihotri Memorial, Mayank Chaturvedi Memorial and others start.
It is seen that the local clubs and academies fail to reach the last four as the players are not able to match fitness and regain form because of the break. However, SMCA team every year gives tough challenges to the national teams like Indian Navy, Jhansi Division, Kamla Club Kanpur, Indian Air Force and others.
Last year, SMCA lost the crucial quarterfinal match of the Manish Agnihotri Memorial All India Cricket Tournament against Indian Air Force by the toss of coin because the scores were tied.
According to Gufran, another coach of the SMCA teams, junior players play football daily from 3 pm to 4 pm while seniors have been asked to play from 4 pm to 5 pm. “We will organise a football tournament between the players of the academy at the end of the rainy season. It will help in motivating the players to regularly play football”, said Gufran.