UAE players are ready for what promises to be a cracking limited overs series against Nepal, beginning in Dubai from Friday.
UAE host Nepal in a three ODI and three T20 series at the ICC Academy. Nepal, who recently gained ODI status, will have star leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane in their side, which will be a boost for the visitors.
Adding to the intrigue is the suspension of three UAE players for their outburst on social media. The Emirates Cricket Board suspended Rohan Mustafa, the then captain, Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad for eight weeks in December after they posted tweets expressing their anger following UAE’s exit from the Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Pakistan.
In the tweets, the three had criticised hosts Pakistan Cricket Board after their final pool match against Hong Kong was washed out following a brief spell of rain. Fast bowler Mohammed Naveed has been handed the captaincy.
With the enforced changes, the pressure will be on UAE to deliver against a fast-rising Nepal team and batsman Chirag Suri said it’s up to the players – especially batsmen like him – to take up responsibility and make up for the absence of the players.
“The added pressure is good for you. It means more responsibility as batsmen because you have to value your wicket more,” Suri told Sport360 on Wednesday.
“I like such pressure situations. It’s an opportunity for players to step up. The forced changes were beyond our control but it’s up to us to do our best.”
The main threat to UAE will be posed by star leg-spinner Lamichhane who has become a household name in the T20 world within a span of 12 months after making his IPL debut last year.
Since then, the 18-year-old has played in all major franchise leagues across the globe, including the Big Bash League. While the leg-spinner is a force to be reckoned with in white-ball cricket, Suri said his team’s batsmen need to play the ball and not the bowler.
“Sandeep is a world-class bowler. But for us, we have to treat him like any other leg-spinner. Our batsmen have faced him before. He is a class bowler and we respect him but we must face the ball and not the bowler,” Suri added.
Despite the changes in the team, Suri said the squad is motivated enough and has adequate bench strength to remain focused on winning.
“The preparation has been very good. Since it’s the first bilateral series against Nepal, players are highly motivated,” he added.
“We are lucky to have good bench strength. Our expectations do not change because of the squad changes. It is a great opportunity for the players in the team to show their hunger.”
All matches will be streamed online via Emirates Cricket Board’s social pages.
First ODI: 09:30, Friday, January 25
Second ODI: 09:30, Saturday, January 26
Third ODI: 09:30, Monday, January 28
First T20: 13:00, Thursday, January 31
Second T20: 13:00, Friday, February 1
Third T20: 13:00, Sunday, February 3
The UAE women’s team consigned their Chinese counterparts to one of the heaviest defeats in international cricket on Sunday.
China were dismissed for a shocking low of 14 in a T20 tournament in Bangkok – the lowest ever score in a Twenty20 International match for men or women.
China were chasing UAE’s massive score of 203-3 but were bowled out inside an hour with 10 overs to spare at the Thailand T20 Smash for a 189-run defeat.
Esha Rohit top-scored for the UAE with 82. In reply, as many as six Chinese batters were dismissed for a duck with Hin Lili top-scoring with four.
It is not the first time China’s cricket team has fallen flat. In October last year, Chinese men’s team was dismissed for 26 against Nepal at a World Twenty20 qualifier.
The International Cricket Council had previously described China as a “strategic priority” and said it is working with the China Cricket Association to “achieve sustainable growth in one of the most complex and competitive sports markets in the world”, according to AFP.
Young cricketers hoping to make a mark in cricket in the UAE and entering a pathway to national selection have a golden opportunity this upcoming weekend.
The Sharjah Cricket is conducting a selection trial to pick Team Sharjah for the Under-16 and Under-19 teams for the Inter-Emirates National Tournament, conducted by the Emirates Cricket Board.
Young cricketers in Sharjah who wish to be a part of a pathway to national selection are encouraged to attend the trials and bring their passport and ID copies for registration.
The trials will be held at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on January 4, 2019 (Under-16 from 8-11am) and January 5, 2019 (Under-19 from 8-11am).
The Inter-Emirates tournament has been a permanent fixture on the UAE cricket calendar since 2015 when the Under-19 event was first held. It was followed by the Under-16 tournament a year later. This is the second year that Sharjah will hold open trials.
According to Mazhar Khan, general manager of Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the reason behind holding an open trial is to give a chance to as many young cricketers as possible.
“The ECB is conducting the Inter Emirates U16 and U19 tournament. So Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ajman councils are supposed to come up with their teams. We wanted to have open trials because normally what happens is that a lot of kids go to academies. So instead of we going to academies, we though ‘let’s go open’,” Khan said.
“There are a lot of kids who don’t go to academies, they don’t get opportunities. So we thought we will give them a chance as well. We will shortlist the team to about 30 initially and then cut down, give the players some practice matches and select a team for Sharjah.”
The response last year was encouraging and Khan expects the story to be the same this year as well.
“The response last year was great. This year we may get around 200 kids for U16 and maybe a little less for U19,” Khan said.
“This has been going on for two years now. The player from the U16 group move on to U19 and some of them are selected for the national team to represent the UAE. It helps the selectors to pick young players as this (Inter-Emirates) is a good, competitive tournament.”
Khan said coaches have already earmarked some names who have been performing consistently in age group cricket and that the emphasis is on selecting the most in-form players who have been playing regularly.
The Inter-Emirates National Tournament is a feeder system into the UAE national team and the Sharjah trials is the first step towards attaining that dream for young cricketers. So what are you waiting for?
WHAT: Trials for Sharjah U16 and U19 teams
WHERE: Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
WHEN: January 4, 2019 (Under-16 from 8-11am) and January 5, 2019 (Under-19 from 8-11am).
CONTACT: Email [email protected]