Chirag Suri is a batsman who plays for the United Arab Emirates. He stole the headlines when he became the first player from UAE to be drafted into IPL. He was bought by Gujarat Lions. He is also referred as the ' Virat Kohli of UAE'.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Suri talks about his cricketing career and the cricketing atmosphere of UAE.
You were the first player from the United Arab Emirates to be drafted into the Indian Premier League. What does this huge accomplishment mean to you?
Suri: It obviously is a huge achievement for me. It always feels really good when you get the opportunity to play in the worlds biggest league. It was something very special for me and my family who have worked so hard on me.
Gujarat Lions consisted of international stars like Suresh Raina, Aaron Finch, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum etc. How the presence of these gentlemen helped you in improvising your game?
Suri: Well, once you're around with such people, you learn so much just by watching them. I got the opportunities to speak to them as well and learnt not only about on the field stuff but also how these guys carry themselves off the field.
The T-10 tournament is being organized again in the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, there has also been an addition of two teams in this tournament. Do you see this tournament as an upliftment of UAE Cricket in the future years?
Suri: Yes, the T-10 tournament is a great opportunity for everyone in the UAE to showcase their skills especially all the local talent. UAE has also launched its T-20 league so it’s a great opportunity to mix with the big stars and learn from them.
Though UAE was unsuccessful in qualifying for the World Cup, they were able to restrict teams like Zimbabwe and Netherlands to qualify for the World Cup. How would you like to analyze the performance of the team in the ICC World Cup qualifiers?
Suri: I think we went with a goal to be the number 1 ranked associate team and we nearly managed to do that. It was only Scotland who finished higher than us and we were able to retain our status. So, it was a successful campaign for us.
You have often been referred to as the “Virat Kohli of UAE”. How do you take these comments?
Suri: Obviously it feels good to be linked with Virat. These comments also come with some added pressure in the domestic circuit but I need to work much harder to come close to what he has achieved.
What kind of changes have you observed in the cricketing atmosphere in the United Arab Emirates from a past few years? Furthermore, how is UAE a good place for a cricketer to pursue his advanced training?
Suri: UAE has some of the best cricketing facilities in the world. We play cricket 12 months a year. Cricket is definitely booming, in fact, the sport is growing in the country and it’s good to see more and more youngsters taking up the sport. Moreover, I have taken an initiative as well to develop youngsters with my own coaching academy namely 'Front Foot Sports' in my old school Repton, Dubai.
There are various young cricketers who wish to play in the Indian Premier League. What advice would you like to give to these budding cricketers?
Suri: I think the key is to enjoy the game. Cricket sometimes pulls you down but you must keep a big heart and keep pushing forward not bothering about results and just focusing on the process.