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All-Weather Cricket

By Editor's Desk, July 24, 2019, Categories: Buzz-In-Town, Edutainment, Entertainment, Featured, Kids, Profiles, Reviews, Slider, Sports

Yes, our desi gene found another excuse to talk about cricket! And this time it’s more exciting because more of cricket has come to Kowloon. AP Sports Academy opens Hong Kong’s first ever indoor cricket academy in Hung Hom.

The humid summers, chilly winters and untimely showers have nothing on us because AP Sports Academy promises a venue that is always open for net practice. A well-known name in our cricket circles, former cricketer of the HK’s national team, Ankur Vasishta has been developing the concept of an indoor cricket academy for five years.

Professional cricket brought Ankur to Hong Kong in 2003. He played for the national team and then for various clubs here before starting his own coaching academy in 2013. The Indian-born cricketer has also played for the Pakistan Club, as their team captain. In fact, he is the only Indian to captain a Pakistan-origin team.

Shop Space

Ankur is dedicated to cricket full time. And he believes there is still a lot to be done. “I wanted to start an indoor academy which is open to all,” he explains. The city has no other indoor spaces for a cricket academy and most academies are at the sports clubs, available to members only. Not only has he meticulously planned this space with the best that technology has to offer but also stocks fine quality sports gear, imported from India. The ace cricketer also finds time to personally coach classes here.

“I was sure I wanted to have this space on Kowloon side which is easily accessible. My friend Kenny Martins and I took our time to source the perfect location. Whampoa is well-connected and there are a lot of Indians here,” says Ankur.

TrueMan Bowling Machine

The 6500 square feet, rectangular studio, houses three wide lanes for net cricket. But the show-stealer here is the state-of-the-art TrueMan bowling Machine from UK – a batsman’s dream! The tall bowling machine’s front is a digital screen that allows a virtual experience of batting against a bowler. The visual gives perfectly timed cue for the ball being served. The machine permits a range of settings, to suit all age groups/ skill levels of batmen.

“Our space is available for all kinds of cricket – coaching lessons, school or corporate events, private parties, league matches or simply net practice sessions,” he says. In fact, AP Sports Academy is already equipped for expanding into other sports such as basketball, mini football, mini tennis, hockey and even bubble football!

Ankur believes sports should remain a part of everyone’s routine. “People who aren’t playing professional sports prefer indoor spaces because chance of injuries is less. Our facility is equipped for all age groups. And what’s better is that its open throughout the year. In Hong Kong its either too humid or too cold to be outdoors. Often the rains can spoil your outdoor plans. But weather can’t play spoilt sport here.”

Opened just recently in July 2019, AP Sport Academy’s indoor cricket area is already seeing some great response from the local community showing a keen interest in the game. 

“There is a lot of passion in the play but still a long way to go,” Ankur explains as he compares the cricket scene in Hong Kong versus the craze for the game in India. “Here the culture is still to remain focused on academics and sports is something you can pursue on the side. It can’t be the same as it is in India. As a private enterprise we are not funded by the government and mainly rely on sponsors to keep our coaching fees affordable to all.” 

This one-stop-shop for all sports needs hopes to instill the passion for field games in the culture here. For this the academy puts additional efforts to include more people in the game. “We have free cricket coaching for girls here.”  

No matter what the weather bureau says – go, get into the game at AP Sports Academy, Unit A, 5th floor, Gemstar Tower, Man Lok Street, Hung Hom. (Just 7 minutes’ walk from Whampoa MTR station, Exit A.)

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