Emirati rising cricket star, Aryan Lakra, talks about ambition, the U19s Cricket World Cup and meeting Yuvraj Singh.
Liam Parker: How did you get into cricket in your early years?
Aryan Lakra: We moved to Dubai when I was 8 years old and one day my dad takes me to a sports shop and buys badminton and tennis rackets, a football, a basketball and a cricket bat. He just asked me to go out and enjoy. Soon after cricket was the only one that stuck.
Can you talk about your experience of the U19s Cricket World Cup in 2020?
Honestly it was one of the best experiences of my life, to be out there representing the country at the highest level in U19 cricket was surreal. And to do well at that level really gave me the confidence that I can do the same when it comes to men’s cricket as well.
Previous U19s world cups have been the platform for future superstars (Joe Root, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, Steve Smith all represented their countries at past events). Is there anyone to look out for from the 2020 edition (apart from yourself!)?
Do you have an ambition to ultimately play first class cricket as a profession?
Yes definitely that’s the goal.
How have you managed to balance sports and education so far in life?
Do you think the ICC should encourage the growth of the sport in associate nations, and how?
The associate game has improved massively over the years and teams like afghanistan and ireland are the prime examples. I feel we should also have a format longer than 50 overs, such as 3 day/4 day cricket, because at the end of the day that’s gonna help us become better cricketers.
You were picked up by the Bangla Tigers for Season 4 of the Abu Dhabi T10. What was the opportunity to train and play alongside world class players like Mujeeb Ur Rahman like?
It was an amazing experience, picking the minds of people like Mujeeb, Andre Fletcher, Chirag Suri and Johnson Charles. Learning how they handle themselves during the game.
What are their processes before or during a game and picking up such things really helped me out a lot as a cricketer and a human being.
Do you have any advice for young aspiring cricketers? Especially for those in associate nations where they may not have the same access to facilities and organisations that exist in Australia / India / England.
To be very honest, for the people who have the will to improve and play cricket at the highest level, facilities don’t play that big a role. There are many examples even in the countries like India where players come and represent the country at the highest level without training at the best facilities.
The hunger to become the best comes from inside a person and once he/she has the hunger, they always find ways to improve as a cricketer no matter the situation.
Finally, you once hit 6 6s in an over in an U19s national academy tournament and you got to meet the most famous cricketer to do the same – Yuvraj Singh. What was that like?
It was a really good experience meeting him. I told him about my 6 6s and we bonded well over it. I got some tips from him on how to hit 6s more cleanly and effectively.