Abu Dhabi T10 League franchise Chennai Braves’ Vriitya Aravind moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when he was six years old with his father, who works as an electrical engineer at DEWA, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
While back in Chennai, Vriitya was too young to understand cricket, but he preferred spending his time playing tennis at his school. ‘I was introduced to every sport but cricket by my parents when I was in Chennai. I only gained interest in cricket after I moved to the UAE,’ the 21-year-old says.
As a child, Vriitya would often visit Chennai to spend time with his family. Roaming around Marina Beach and going out for family lunch and dinner remain some of his favorite memories from home. However, India’s 2011 ICC Men’s World Cup victory was a life-changing moment for Vriitya.
‘In 2011, when India won the World Cup, I was there for summer vacations. After India won, I went out on the streets to celebrate with the people. That moment instilled cricket in me. My dad was always a cricket fan, but I think it was the first time I watched cricket, and I decided to pursue the sport,’ he says. Vriitya enrolled himself in a cricket club in the UAE to pursue his dream. In his Under-11s club, there was a shortage of a wicketkeeper. His team was impressed with his fielding and asked him to don the gloves. Thus began the journey of the accidental wicketkeeper. ‘My team said put on the gloves and start keeping, and I have been doing that ever since,’ he says.
Since making his debut for the UAE in a T20 match against the USA at Sharjah on December 9, 2019, Vriitya has played 55 ODIs and 45 T20Is for the UAE. In his short career, the wicketkeeper-batter has already stacked 2 ODI centuries and 5 T20I fifties.