[PICTURES] Rana Naved's Dream Comes True as he Launches his Cricket Academy

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34 year old Rana Naved ul Hasan's ambition for many years has been rather different to many cricketers. Whilst many dream of domestic success, international honours and the riches of tournaments such as the IPL, Rana's focus for a large part of his career has been on launching a cricket academy in his home city of Sheikhupura.

He first mentioned the project to me 5 years ago and even back then he had major plans and specific ideas about what he wanted the academy to achieve. Listening to the passion with which he spoke back then, it was obvious that the idea would one day become a reality.

Rana has played domestic cricket in Pakistan since 1995 and knows the system inside out and is aware of the difficulties up and coming cricketers face in Pakistan. Sadly in some scenarios if one does not have the financial backing or the contacts then there is little chance of making it into any of the academies, local cricket clubs or first class teams. Some of these youngsters may have more talent than their competitors but, their route to eventual first class cricket is blocked if they don't have the requisite contacts.

"The situation of boys being invited to and given places in an academy based on contacts and wealth was one that I wanted to address" stated Rana to PakPassion.net

He added "It happens too often that a boy from a wealthy family will get selected for a place at an academy ahead of a boy who is a better cricketer but comes from a poor family. I've been there, I know the system, I know what difficulties I faced and I know what sacrifices my family had to make for me to get into cricket. I want all of the cricketing talent of Sheikhupura to be given a chance at my academy, irrespective of which family they are from and how wealthy they are. My academy is open to all those boys who want to learn the game and improve their cricket and then go on to hopefully play first class cricket and above."

Rana is back for another season in County cricket this year for Derbyshire, having previously featured in England for Sussex and Yorkshire. A wholehearted and popular cricketer famous for his hair, as well as his ability to bowl well at the death of an innings, Rana developed his talent in domestic cricket in Pakistan predominantly for WAPDA.

His international career has spanned seven years and he last played for Pakistan in February 2010. Whilst his own international aspirations are currently on hold, he feels that his academy has the potential to produce some excellent first class cricketers, some who may one day be recognised with international honours as he was.

Rana added "There is so much cricketing talent in Sheikhupura. I would go back home and see young children, 5, 6 or 7 year old playing cricket on the streets with no shoes, using an old stick for a bat. Their feet would be cut to shreds, the ball they would be using would be ruined and just reinforced with tape, yet I would watch them and see how talented they were. It saddened me to see their love for cricket, how they were smiling and enjoying the game despite the lack of equipment".

He continued "Seeing this day in, day out got me thinking that how good these boys would become if we gave them the opportunity to play cricket at decent facilities with some proper cricket equipment. I discussed the idea with some influential people in Sheikhupura and some former team mates of mine. They were all behind me and very supportive of the idea and all said that it would be great for the local community and for the development of cricket in the city".

"Gradually the ideas started to become plans, slowly but surely the ideas started to materialise and the building blocks were put into place piece by piece. Not once did anyone think the idea would not work and all the people around me were very focussed and keen for the plans to become reality. Obviously for some periods I was not back home with cricketing assignments overseas, so my colleagues organised everything".

Rana's plans are simple and the emphasis is on providing the youngsters of Sheikhupura with a cricketing facility that they can use fully and for Sheikhupura to produce local cricketing talent that goes on and does well for the local team, for first class teams and possibly for Pakistan.

"We have only launched the academy last week which was a very proud moment. It was a dream come true for me when it opened and we already have 60 to 70 boys at the academy aged from 8 to 20. It is a brand new facility which not only focuses on cricket but also provides the boys with education. We have former first class cricketers as coaches and also schoolteachers to educate the boys."

Rana continued "The coaching setup will be expanded in a few months time with some former National Cricket Academy coaches joining the team. Our plans are in place, we want to develop a high calibre of cricketer in Sheikhupura, a cricketer that is well versed in the basics of cricket and has a good grounding behind them from a young age. We want to produce cricketers for Sheikhupura region first and foremost - who knows maybe some of these boys will go on and play for first class departmental teams and eventually for Pakistan, but let's take things one step at a time."

Rana concluded "With this academy I want to give Pakistan cricket something back, as it has given me a lot of proud moments over the years. I'm still fit, strong and enjoying my cricket and still want to play for my country. You never know what is around the corner and I am ready if the selectors want my services"
 
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I do not respect Rana one bit due to his 'past' but this is good work from him.
 
I do not respect Rana one bit due to his 'past' but this is good work from him.

what past? is it something to do with the tour of australia i don't remember

excellent work by rana mashallah by the way
 
The cricketing talent in Shiekhupura is unquestionable.

Still cant forget the sight of a lanky young guy bamboozling batsmen on a cold winter morning at the skp stadium. Muhammad Asif later went on to represent Pakistan.

Aaqib Javed and Rana, are the other two notable products of this tehsil.

Inshallah Shiekhupura continues to provide the national team with more brilliant talents.
 
great work very proud of him and good of him to give something positive back,

i request all the crickets from pak, wasim,. waqat etc etc to support rana and maybe time to time pop down to his academy and support the youngsters with knowledge and experience.

keep up the good work,, and who knows we might see rana back in the nation squad
 
may be PP can send some scout to Rana's academy and take some videos of the facilities with the boys training.
 
may be PP can send some scout to Rana's academy and take some videos of the facilities with the boys training.

Thats a very good idea.
Lahore based PPers can easily take a drive down to Skp city...just 45 mins if you use the motorway. If I am in Shiekhupura anytime soon, i'll be more than happy to take some photographs for PP.
 
From Rana's interview it seems like his academy is for boys only. Why not invite girls as well?

Nonetheless, good work.
 
Amazing initiative by Rana and needs our support
 
I've always loved his attitude towards the game, good on you Rana !

I hope and pray for your success, do well !
 
well done rana,

hope other big guys watching him and planning to follow in his foot steps.

i see the players coming from humble background and small towns are more conscious of their duty to pay back to the place where they came from.


Does any one know the regional acaademies set up by PCB way back in Tauqir Zia's time?

are they still functioning? and where are these based? thanks
 
An update from Rana Naveed - the mosque in the academy is now ready.

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From Rana's interview it seems like his academy is for boys only. Why not invite girls as well?

Nonetheless, good work.

It will be a great initiative for small town like sheikhupura
 
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