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Pollard, Atlantic invest in young cricketers
Energy company Atlantic has expanded its partnership with international cricketer Kieron Pollard to provide two scholarships to young and promising cricketers to the United Kingdom to hone their skills. The Atlantic Kieron Pollard Scholarship is the name of the bursary launched on Thursday at the Atlantic National Primary Schools’ Cricket League awards and dinner held at the Ballroom of the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre on Lady Young Road in St Ann’s. Pollard introduced the project last year in collaboration with his UK-based management team Insignia International which athletes Akeal Hosein and Savion Lara were exposed to and benefited. Hosein was based at Surrey Country Cricket Club, while Lara was embedded at Somerset.
He described as remarkable the results of the initial effort and said under the new sponsorship model two young nationals will play club cricket during the 2014 UK cricket season. “The future of cricket depends on opportunity. The opportunity for children to be exposed to the game, the opportunity for them to develop their talent and the opportunity for them to practice, which leads to the opportunity for success. “I was blessed to have opportunities presented to me and that is why I am passionate about helping the next generation of great cricketers reach their full potential, achieve their goals and perhaps have the honour to represent the country and the region,” he said. “Once such chance I had was to play league cricket in the United Kingdom. I benefited greatly from that experience for a number of reasons and I thought that it would be very valuable to young players, if they also got the chance to play cricket abroad, as it not only allows the player to improve the game, but teaches independence and other important life skills. “So, in 2012, I sought to make my vision of providing such an opportunity a reality, by offering an annual scholarship that have a young cricketer the chance to play club cricket in the United Kingdom. Both Akeal and Savion excelled during their time in the UK and I am proud to say that they really demonstrate the pool of talent we have in T&T.”
The new instalment of the scholarship will cover the airfare of the two athletes to and from the UK and will include excess allowance. They will earn full membership with a reputable cricket club, as well as payment of registration fees required for club’s overseas players and of course the opportunity to train. Quality accommodation awaits successful candidates in an environment which Pollard said will ensure their security. The required training kit will be included in the bursary. He said, “My management team in the UK oversees this venture to make sure things runs smoothly, spend time with and even play cricket with the scholars. “Indeed, just yesterday the Insignia team had lunch with Savion and his club, who cannot speak highly enough of the impact that Savion had this year. It’s not just the runs he scored, but his work ethic and personality have been highly praised and they are excited about who they will host next year. “Savion has now impressed to the level that he will attract offers from various clubs in the area to return next year, and we foresee a future whereby in a few years’ time, there will be a number of Trinidadian players all playing in and around the London area.” Pollard expressed hope that the Atlantic Kieron Pollard Scholarship will help propel young cricketers into the realm of professional cricket, therefore enabling them a sustainable future for the game in the country and the region.