Cricket legend, Brian Lara, plays host to bmobile Cricket Academy standout participants.

World record holding batsman, Brian Lara, is flanked by (L-R) Coach David Williams, outstanding young cricketers - Justyn Gangoo, Tariq Mohammed and Sachin Soodeen, Coach Avidesh Samaroo and Dudnath Ramkessoon, Acting TTCB CEO, during their prized visit to his home.

Port-of-Spain, Trinidad - January 12, 2019

Three standout graduates of the 2018 bmobile Cricket Academy were presented with an opportunity of a lifetime when legendary batsman, Brian Charles Lara, invited the talented trio to spend some one on one time with him at his home on Lady Chancellor Hill, St. Clair.

The young men – Justyn Gangoo (Valedictorian), Sachin Soodeen (Most Improved) and Tariq Mohammed (Most Disciplined) –  were selected from a specialised bunch of 19 cricketers who took part in the 2018 Academy which was held as a live-in weekend camp (October – December 2018) at the Sir Frank Worrell Development Centre in Couva.

Sole sponsors of this specialist Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) training programme, bmobile, together with Brian Lara, saw it fit to give the guys a sneak-peek of his many rewards of sporting success. The budding cricketers were joined by their equally excited parents, who also reminisced on Lara’s exemplary performances in previous years.

All three families were privy to a personal tour of Lara’s grounds and an exclusive visit down memory lane, as he unveiled an archive of historic bats, record-breaking National and West Indian One-Day and Test cricket uniforms alongside an extensive library of international interviews and title-winning performances.

“Their visit to Lara’s home is something that millions of fans across the world merely dream of doing,” said Anjanie Ramesar-Soom, TSTT’s Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations. “We decided to give these young cricketers a first-hand look of the rewards success in sport can bring you. At bmobile, we are intent on creating progressive avenues for young people through sport and will continue to extend our support for growth in cricket nationally. This visit was geared towards inspiring these young men to pursue their sporting dreams”, stated Ramesar-Soom.

The ‘Prince of Port-of-Spain’ credited Academy coaches David Williams and Avidesh Samaroo for playing an integral part in their professional development and also urged their parents to continue encouraging them to work hard.

“If you put in the work on the field, doors will be opened for you,” he stated. “Cricket is a far greater game now financially than when I played.  You have an opportunity to make a proper living, a profession, out of this sport. It will only come from dedication. You have a dream, go out and achieve it. When you encounter hurdles, confront, embrace and face them.”

Following the tour, left-arm wrist spinner and St. Mary’s College Form Six student, Soodeen, was captivated. “Entering his room of achievements enthralled us all emotionally and mentally. It was like a mini-museum. He used all these accomplishments to show us the external incentives that can be derived from playing cricket. I have to thank bmobile for giving me this opportunity to see some of the accolades one can receive for loyalty to sport. It makes me want to work harder.”

Mohammed’s highlight was the ability to view, up-close, Lara’s world record-breaking 375 & 400 not out bats which were also on display. He also recalled a multitude of framed newspaper clippings from media all across the globe which covered his many historic innings as a West Indies talisman.

“Mr. Lara wasn’t really thinking about making a large sum of money at that point. He was just focussed on playing cricket and enjoying the game. Being able to see his many achievements has helped me a lot because it gives me an insight as to how he went about his innings on the pitch. This visit was really a blessing for me as a young cricketer,” he explained.

Ramesh Soodeen, father of the programme’s ‘Most Improved’ athlete, was also brimming with pride to see his son’s progression as an avid sportsman. The long-time West Indian supporter was pleased to finally have a welcomed chat with Lara himself having loyally followed his illustrious career back in the 90’s.