The 18-year-old only moved from Abu Dhabi to England in September after being awarded a cricket scholarship with Seaford College but his potential has already caught the eye of two coaches, who recommended to try out for Warwickshire and Sussex’s second-teams for next season.
The ex-Zayed Academy pupil will travel to Warwickshire this weekend before proving his worth to Sussex coaches a week later.
“This is a really exciting opportunity,” said Riyan, who was in the UAE U-19 squad last year for their ACC Premier League tournament in Malaysia. “I have done very well in training so far and my coach (Chris Adams) at Seaford thought I should take my cricket to a new level and recommended to have a shot of getting into the Sussex second team. He spoke to some of the coaches there and they were interested to invite me for a trial and it’s something I’m looking forward to.
“The Warwickshire opportunity is also exciting and it was my former coach (Nick Tester) at Ardingly College where I studied in 2010, who informed me of the trials.”
While he acknowledges it will be a stern test to impress, he is keen to make the most of these two chances.
“It would be a big thing for me to make it into the second-teams as it will get me closer to playing in England in which I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to do but if I can impress it would help me considerably as it will help me get a lot of experience against the best players in England.”
Earlier this month, Riyan got a taste of playing against top cricketers when his Danube UAE Falcons side reached the semi-finals of the 2X Cricket Cup in USA.
Skippered by former UAE captain Khurram Khan, Riyan was the youngest member of the squad in the exhibition T20 tournament but came up against Pakistan internationals – Kamran Akmal and Saeed Ajmal.
“That tournament was really beneficial because it was all about performing under pressure,” he said. “I did well in that and it was great to learn from players like Khurram Khan and Amjad Javed, who were there to give me advice all the time.”
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