Sunny Sohal Cricket Academy, in Gaithersburg, MD, trains cricketers of all age groups.
U.S. T20 cricket team member and former Indian Premier League player Sunny Sohal has opened a cricket academy in the Washington, DC, area to groom young cricketers from the region.
The Sunny Sohal Cricket Academy, which opened its doors in Gaithersburg, MD, in October, trains cricketers of all age groups, beginning at the age of six.
The cricketer, who moved to the United States five years ago, after a successful first class career, said he wanted to create the facility after realizing the lack of indoor cricket facilities for youth players. “A lot of [youngsters in the] community here want to play cricket professionally,” he told the streaming service Neestream. “That’s why I wanted to start it here.”
Sohal moved to the US after playing for three IPO franchises, the Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab, and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Sohal has been coaching youngsters playing in the Maryland Youth Cricket Association League for two years. Now, with the opening of the new facility, the cricketer and his wards will be able to train young players in the winter season, when outdoor cricket is nearly impossible to play on the East Coast.
The facility features two bowling machines and two lanes, as well as the mentorship of Sohal. The academy offers private, as well as group practice sessions.
Maryland Youth Cricket Association officials say having someone of Sohal’s stature coach the local youth is a game-changer.
“Six or seven years ago, we started with tennis balls, and these kids were just playing for fun,” said
Shaffeel Ahmed, a member of the association’s board of directors. “As the Maryland Youth Cricket Association created the tournament and a lot of teams got involved, it became competitive, and parents volunteered as coaches. But these kids were just playing without proper techniques because it’s all just parent volunteering, so when somebody like Sunny Sohal comes in, with all this playing experience and shows the proper techniques and basics of cricket, parents are very thrilled.”
Ahmed said kids are coming from all over the Washington, DC, area to get coached by Sohal.
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Kausthuri Vendatham, a highs chool freshman and one of Sohal’s wards, also had high praise for the cricketer and his academy, describing his coaching as “magic.”
“He’ll teach you the right thing and you’ll get it the next minute,” she told Neestream. Vendatham makes the hour long commute from Ellicott City, MD, to Gaithersburg thrice a week to train under Sohal.
Sohal made his Ranji Trophy debut for Punjab against Hyderabad in December 2005, at the age of 17. In 21 first-class matches, he has scored 1,202 runs at an average of more than 36, with three hundreds. In his last innings, in a Ranji Super League match in December 2009, the right-hander made a memorable 89.