Twelve young Victorian Indigenous cricketers embarked on a journey of a lifetime when they traveled to Dubai today to take part in the KP24 Foundation's inaugural Sprite 24/7 Project.
Aged between 15 and 18, the cricketers will have the opportunity to train under Pietersen's watchful eye, attend international matches, meet high-profile cricketers and compete in the project's T20 World Cup, representing Australia.
Participants of the Victorian Indigenous Development Squad - Noogal Toengorrt Tani - the Aboriginal cricketers come from across Victoria including Benalla, Gippsland, Healesville, Ballarat and Mornington Peninsula, with some of the players striving for selection in the 2015-16 Victorian Indigenous Cricket Team.
Over the next 10 days, teams from India, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia will meet at the Academy for an intensive high-performance training program that includes skill development, coach education, media training, nutrition and recovery.
"Throughout my career I've been so fortunate to travel all around the world and meet so many amazing people, so it was always my ultimate ambition to put something on which gave something back to these places," Pietersen said.
"Wherever I've travelled, whether it be with England or playing franchise cricket, kids have always come to our training and joined in whenever they could. It's forever been a regret of mine that our limited time in these areas meant I couldn't repay them with the amount of time and attention they deserve.
"The event will see boys leave their countries, most of whom for the first time, and hopefully pick up the skills and confidence needed to improve their everyday life."
Pietersen's interest in the Noogal squad stemmed from the Melbourne Stars' connection to the Indigenous community.
After discussions with Stars BBL|04 Community Rookie Josh Eaton, who plays for Premier Cricket club Essendon and is also a part of the Noogal Squad, Pietersen connected with Cricket Victoria to offer the participants the opportunity to train at his Academy.
For more information on the KP24 Foundation's Sprite 24/7 Project, click here.
The 12 Noogal Squad cricketers are:
Mackenzie Casson - Riddells CC
Luke Chandler - Lilydale CC
Jackson Collard - Dandenong West CC
Nathan Fowler - Northcote CC
Nathan Hucker - Mount Clear CC
Jackson Hale - Pines CC
Liam Jackson - Pines CC
Connor Jackson - Pines CC
Wade King - Benalla Bushrangers CC
Zac McLeod - Mount Clear CC
Rhys Smith - Preston Baseballers CC
Zac Stevens - Lucknow CC
24 NOVEMBER, 2015 | Indigenous Cricket