Over 70 budding cricketers in the city take the playing field at the St Mary’s Higher Secondary School, Pattom here twice every day. This is where Shine’s Cricket Academy, under the stewardship of Shine S S, a former state cricketer, weaves its magic.
The academy currently boasts of over half-a-dozen senior state-level cricketers who have been consistently finding their place in the Kerala team for Ranji Trophy and the one-day sides.
Abhishek Mohan was the leading wicket-taker in the under-21 category in the country and was unearthed by Shine in his schooling days. Anfal P M, Jithin Ramachandran, Deepak Murali, Raj Kiran, Ali Asgar and Aquib Fazal are also part of that glowing list.
The academy also has around 25 under-10 and 20 under-14 cricketers who learn from their seniors, of whom many are junior-level state players, and coach alike. There are also three state women cricketers - Mariya Benny, Nirmala Rani and Merilla D’souza in the ranks.
It was in 2001 that the academy was established at Loyola School, Sreekariyam as the Loyola Cricket Academy with the help of the school management. After a decade of success in training students from schools around the city and acting as a conveyor belt for cricket teams in the state, the academy shifted its base to St Mary’s HSS in 2011.
At St Mary’s, the academy, rechristened Shine’s CA, announced its arrival in grand style. Representing the school, the team won all three state school competitions conducted by the Kerala Cricket Association between 2011 and 2013.
“We now have concrete, mat, astroturf and turf wickets. A swimming pool and a tennis court are also available for the trainees. We also plan to install a granite wicket which will be one of its kind in the state,” says Shine.
“We hope that the granite wicket gives more pace and bounce for the bowlers and more exposure to such deliveries for our batsmen,” he says.
“Unlike some of the other academies, the players we have to our credit were not roped in after they became established cricketers, but have been with the academy since their early playing days. We have basically built up from the scratch,” says Shine.