ABU DHABI // A 13-year-old opening batsman has run up another major achievement to add to his growing reputation.
Mohammed Riyan came through a country-wide talent search to win a scholarship at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai.
The Cambridge High School pupil, a member of the MCC-Zayed Cricket Academy in Abu Dhabi, was selected from more than 300 young hopefuls to take part in a 24-week programme in the Under 16 division.
The former Sherwood Academy player is also considering a scholarship offer from the Sussex Academy that was made after he captained the Abu Dhabi academy in an Under 13 cricket festival organised by the English county cricket club in the summer.
Riyan scored 95 not out against Buckinghamshire, the top score for the touring side, to reach the semi-finals in the eight-team competition.
"The offer from Sussex to study and pursue on his cricket was flattering and we are going to look at it seriously," said his father, Zaheer, who plays for Etihad Airlines in Abu Dhabi Cricket Council competitions.
Riyan displayed a natural talent for cricket at a young age and was enrolled at the Zayed academy in 2006 when he was seven. He won the Most Promising Young Cricketer award for the juniors at the end of his first year and has never looked back since.
"He has all the ingredients to become a top-class cricketer," said Qazi Ayub, the head coach of the Abu Dhabi academy. "He one of those rare natural talents to pick up the rudiments of the game with a minimum coaching."
Riyan has toured with the Abu Dhabi academy in each of the three years they have taken part in the Sussex tournament.