MSD's cricket factory

India’s 2011 World Cup-winning captain, who is set to launch the Mahendra Singh Dhoni Cricket Academy in Dubai in October, will also take the academy’s extension plan to various parts of Africa and the United Kingdom.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni with Mihir Diwakar (left) and Mahmood Merchant.   -  Special Arrangement

If thinking out of the box remained the success mantra for Mahendra Singh Dhoni on-field, he has made it a point to follow a similar strategy off the field too — think beyond the border!

India’s 2011 World Cup-winning captain, who is set to launch the Mahendra Singh Dhoni Cricket Academy in Dubai in October, will also take the academy’s extension plan to various parts of Africa and the United Kingdom.

The academy, which is run by Aarka Sports — a company formed by Dhoni’s old friend and former cricketer Mihir Diwakar — has struck a deal with Dubai-based Pacific Ventures to take the academy to various parts of the globe. “The idea is to extend the brand globally and take cricket to those areas where youngsters don’t have enough opportunities,” Diwakar tells Sportstar.

Even, Pacific Ventures chief Parvez Khan has a similar idea. Originally from Pune, Khan played cricket regularly while residing in India. “But there was not much opportunity in our times. Now, the youngsters have so many avenues. Just like Dhoni, we too were thinking of spreading the game among the NRI kids. That’s why we took franchise of UK, USA and South Africa,” Khan tells Sportstar, explaining the reason behind the partnership.

The Springdales School campus in Dubai is being used to build the Mahendra Singh Dhoni Academy.   -  Special Arrrangement

 

The academy in Dubai, which is scheduled to be launched by Dhoni in October, is being built in the campus of the Springdales School. “Work is on in full swing. The school has a good campus, some of the best grounds and real good pitches. We will train the girls as well,” Khan says.

While Khan emphasises on the fact that the academy will have a lot of good coaches, Diwakar makes it clear that Level A and Level C coaches will be sent to Dubai from India. “The coaches will travel from India. We have a good line-up, and they will ensure that the youngsters are given proper training,” Diwakar, who has played 39 first-class matches for Jharkhand, says.

When the academy comes up in Dubai, it will be the third by Dhoni (the first International venture). “We are already coming up with two academies in Lucknow and Gurgaon. This international academy will help us expand more,” Diwakar explains.

But why did they zero in on Dubai for the international academy?

“Dubai is very keen to promote sports. With the ICC Academy here, players from all over the world visit here. So, this move will help promote cricket,” Khan says.

Dhoni, who was personally present during the signing of the deal, has assured the Pacific Ventures that he would regularly visit the centre in Dubai to oversee the training process. “He is suggesting a lot of things. From training qualities to building leadership — Dhoni will look into everything. This is going to be a great thing for youngsters,” Khan says, adding that with the ICC Academy around, players will also benefit from it.

If they are busy readying the academy for the launch in October, the plans to take the Academy to various parts of United Kingdom and South Africa have already started. “We are working out a few things. Once the Dubai centre starts running, the expansion process would begin,” Khan says.

When Dhoni started playing cricket in the small town of Ranchi, it didn’t have facilities to flaunt. But hard work and determination got a rookie stumper-batsman to reach the top. And, now at a time when question marks are being raised over Dhoni’s future in Team India, MSD is aiming to bring out newer talents.

May be, that’s his way of giving back to the game, which gave him all the laurels.