VK Cricket Academy Uncategorized Root Dubai Cup U15, 2024 – An Adventure Trip in the Eastern Arabia ~ by Trupti Bala

Root Dubai Cup U15, 2024 – An Adventure Trip in the Eastern Arabia ~ by Trupti Bala

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lYwqlcPBMVWSSQ7L2gnbvuoBsdGLZ9x_QLBuwhUHnu9udqIj3dbCnfb1vswwupswYqIzHuYSeQpQszL_cXjHACQAoqetAARNE4mhVVgzGECwNHuD3so85k0HM3wwFT9j0_61gxYnIWNA5_qBProxauw

“Cricket is a game that can ignite passions and unite nations” ~ Steve Waugh

The international U15 squad from VK Cricket Academy, Fremont, CA, USA


Growing up in India and raising a teenage cricketer in Silicon Valley, like many cricket enthusiasts, I felt that cricket continues to be a sport that has the potential to bring people together and stir powerful emotions. This blog narrates the cricket experience of competing among eight international teams as part of the Dubai Cup U15, 2024. It explores iconic landmarks, shopping malls, cultural sites, and entertainment venues from a tourism perspective, delving into cultural insights and highlighting my interactions with locals regarding unique customs, traditions, or social norms that I observed. Most importantly, it will provide valuable information to parents of teenage cricketers on how international level sports participation, travel, and cultural exploration can help our kids broaden their horizons, build global connections, and understand what it takes to compete at the international level.


Cricket being an international sport it is essential to get international exposure. While bay area cricket facilities are catching up, the coach of VK cricket academy Sravan Dhulipala, academy team managers Vijay and Rakesh and other parents felt it’s high time for kids to experience what kind of athletic excellence, the preparation, dedication and strategic planning are required to compete at international levels. I personally felt it was a proud moment, humble beginning of something big and an excellent way of fostering cultural understanding, personal development, and global cooperation among teenage cricketers. Most importantly, although this was a private tournament, when we play at the international level we represent our country, instilling a sense of national or state level pride and unity. I am sure the VK Cricket Academy U15 squad will serve as role models and sources of inspiration for aspiring young cricketers in the bay area. 


VK cricket club along with enthusiastic parent volunteers started the preparation back in November 2023. Coach Sravan Dhulipala and Vijay Naikar, a board member in VKCA, made sure we are enrolled to participate in Dubai Cup 2024.  Rakesh Amerineni, another board member, was quite instrumental in planning the tour from legal, immigration, hotel/ flight and overall tour booking perspective along with Coach Sravan. All other parents also chimed every now and then to ensure all due diligence is done. Not only parents but also the kids found the excel spreadsheet prepared by Rakesh super useful. Special shout out to Rakesh for making everyone’s life easy. It contained:

  • Extensive travel checklist for kids and parents
  • A detailed game preplist for kids
  • Travel seating arrangement plan for 21 travelers 
  • List of parents with detailed info on food preferences and allergies
  • Desert safari tour and kid’s food preferences
  • Addresses and key contacts including ground names
  • The best part was 24*7 daily schedules kept everyone organized and on time.

This excel spreadsheet MUST be templatized for future trips as this will make the planning and execution easy.

Day 1 was filled with excitement and curiosity of traveling to Dubai with a group of 21 containing 12 players, coach, volunteers and parents.

Pic: First group pic of the team with Coach at San Francisco international airport .

Pic: Parents are taking pics before weaving goodbyes to the team.

Pic : Team players walking towards the gate

Pic: Team outside the gate eagerly waiting to board

Pic: Successfully boarded and ready to head to Dubai

Arrival at Dubai Airport

Pic: VKCA team arrived at the Dubai airport


All arrangements including Shuttle service were done by the organizers. 

Pic: All smiles ready to leave Dubai airport to the hotel – Studio one, Studio City, Dubai

Our Cricket experience

The tournament spanned over 7 exciting days, providing the players with a truly fantastic cricket experience. Representing VK Cricket Academy, our team had the privilege of competing against 8 formidable international teams:

  • VK cricket academy, Fremont California, USA
  • Cricket Appeal, Sydney, Australia
  • North Jersey, NJ, USA
  • Invicta Cricket, England
  • Royal Hospital School, UAE
  • Dubai College Cricket Academy, UAE
  • Desert Vipers Cricket Academy, UAE
  • Joshua Da Silva Cricket Academy, Trinidad

Throughout the tournament, our team played 4 gripping matches and emerged victorious in 3, securing the title of first runner-up. Despite the competitive spirit on the field, the atmosphere between teams remained remarkably friendly. It was a common sight to see players from opposing teams sharing the same hotel and commuting together to and from the cricket stadium.

One of the most memorable moments of the tournament occurred during our match against the Australian team, “Cricket Appeal,” from Sydney, at Sharjah. Despite the formidable batting performance by the Australians, our VKCA players put up a commendable fight. The match witnessed a flurry of sixes from both teams, but one stood out among the rest. Aditya Joshi’s six sent the ball sailing outside the stadium, leading to a frantic 15-minute search to retrieve it.

These unforgettable moments encapsulate the thrill and camaraderie that define international cricket tournaments, leaving a lasting impression on players and spectators alike.

City at night

Pic: Dubai skyline at night

Dubai is truly a night city. The city skyline looked amazing as we traveled from Dubai airport to the hotel.

Studio One Hotel 

Pic: Studio one lobby 

The hotel accommodation was excellent. The host and hotel crew was warm and welcoming. The hotel had all necessary amenities, fantastic continental breakfast options and a lot of good restaurants nearby to explore. 

Pic: Team building over breakfast next day

Practice session

Pic: On day one the team got good practice at ICC ACADEMY to prepare for the rest of the tournament.

Miracle Garden 

Pic: A dancer covered with natural floral arrangement 

It was a truly magical experience exploring miracle gardens. Its situated near Dubai sport city and parents enjoyed exploring the world’s largest natural flower garden. It spans over 72,000 square meters and features a stunning array of vibrant and colorful flowers, plants, and floral arrangements.

Pic: Peacock statue covered with beautiful flower arrangements.

Pic: A dancer covered with natural floral arrangement 

Pic: A dancer covered with natural floral arrangement 

Butterfly garden 

Right next to Miracle garden was the butterfly garden. Small but well planned garden where visitors can learn about metamorphosis, the life cycle of butterflies, their habitats, and their importance to ecosystems

Pic: Butterfly garden, Dubai

Pic: Volunteer parents exploring butterfly garden!

Patiala house

Almost all nights, the team enjoyed delicious Indian food at Patiala house located just in 5 mins walking distance. 

Pic: VKCA team and parents enjoying authentic indian food at the Patiyala house

The global village

Global Village in Dubai, my personal favorite of all, is a must-see destination for cultural exploration, boasting the vibrant flavors, traditions, and entertainment of 27 nations under one roof. It offers a captivating journey around the world, where visitors can immerse themselves in the rich diversity of global cultures. Food lovers and shoppers are in for a treat as they explore goods and cuisines from 27 different countries, sampling authentic dishes and discovering unique products. From tantalizing street food to exquisite handicrafts, Global Village caters to every palate and preference. Moreover, visitors are treated to enchanting Arabic cultural performances, including the mesmerizing tanoura dance, adding to the immersive experience of this cultural extravaganza.

Pic: This place was dazzled with variety of food offering, live music and performances

Pic: A magnificent entrance at Global Village

Pic: Immerse Yourself in the Mystique of Arabian Nights at Global Village Dubai

Gold souk & spice souk 

Pic: Creative illustration of Gold jewelry and fragrantful spices in the heart of Deira dubai 

These pictures are worth a thousand words. Do I need to say more?

Dubai Frame 

The Dubai frame is not just another stunning architectural marvel but it serves as a metaphorical portal between Dubai’s past, present, and future. It frames views of the historic district of Deira on one side and the modern skyline of Sheikh Zayed Road on the other, symbolizing Dubai’s rapid transformation and development over the years.

Pic: A magnificent Dubai frame representing a portal allowing past, present and future to coexist

The museum of Future 

The Museum of the Future features quite novel design that embodies innovation and forward-thinking. Its sleek, futuristic architecture, with its gleaming facade and intricate geometric patterns, symbolizes Dubai’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology and ideas including futuristic space hub, vertical farming, DNA preservation of extinct species and cutting edge research.

Pic: The Museum of future, a Donut shaped building in the middle of downtown Dubai

Pic: The majestic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We enjoyed the tour and areal views from the top. 

Pic: waiting to get into elevator inside burj khalifa

Pic: inside the elevator going up

A tour of Marina & Palm 

Meena Bazar

An old Delhi style historic market located in the heart of Old Dubai since early 1900. Famous for trading cloths, jewelry and accessories. It is also famous for its vibrant atmosphere,   its traditional charm, with narrow lanes, old buildings, and nearby forts.

Mumbaikar’s restaurant

I had an absolute blast while having authentic Mumbai food. Felt home away from home. 

The Dessert Safari 

All team members and parents were picked up from the cricket stadium around 3:30 PM by our tourist guides. As we made our way to the desert safari location, the guides shared fascinating insights into Dubai’s culture, government, and administration. They spoke proudly about how multiple religions have peacefully coexisted for decades in this vibrant city.

Once we arrived, the real adventure began. We experienced the thrill of dune bashing, enjoyed camel rides, and played in the soft sand while witnessing a tranquil sunset.

As evening descended, we treated our taste buds to a feast of delights, including BBQ-style kebabs and a variety of vegetarian dishes influenced by Persian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Pakistani, and other cuisines.

The magic continued into the night with mesmerizing Tanoura and jaw-dropping fire dances. We want to give special recognition to the talented artists who, though unnamed, are the unsung heroes preserving and promoting the arabic culture.

A visit to BAPS, Abudabi 

I learned about the Swaminarayan Temple in Abu Dhabi when I witnessed its inauguration by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on news channels. It was truly another proud moment for me. Later, I had the opportunity to hear the story of the idea, vision, and realization behind this temple from a BAPS volunteer. At the temple, all devotees have the chance to perform Abhishek rituals and savor satvik Indian cuisine.

Pic: The Divine Eye represents a universal message of harmony at BAPS, Abu Dabi 

The finals

Pic: fun exploring local supermarket with team


The international cricket journey has officially kicked off for VKCA players, signaling the start of many thrilling adventures ahead. Our Dubai escapade unfolded over seven exhilarating days, blending high-stakes competition with sport tourism as we delved into the wonders of this dynamic city. Dubai, renowned for its jaw-dropping engineering feats and bustling cultural landscape, cast its spell upon us, weaving a tapestry of rich heritage and vibrant diversity. We heard nothing but praise for Dubai’s administration, corruption-free and peaceful environment from many locals, including Uber and taxi drivers, hotel and restaurant crews, fellow shoppers, and tourist guides. With a population representing over 200 nationalities, Dubai truly emerges as a melting pot of cultures, languages, and traditions, igniting our curiosity at every turn. Here’s to hoping that in the days to come, more players and parents alike will embark on this remarkable journey of exploration and discovery.

1 thought on “Root Dubai Cup U15, 2024 – An Adventure Trip in the Eastern Arabia ~ by Trupti Bala”

  1. Nicely Summarized . Congratulations to entire squad !! very proud to Be part of VKCA family.

Comments are closed.

Related Post