Aqib Malik, the captain of the UAE for the Asian Cricket Council Under 19 Elite Cup, believes the opportunity to play on the international stage is the kind of incentive youngsters growing up in the Emirates need to encourage them to devote more time to their cricket.
"Firstly you must enjoy the game and if the reward is to play for the UAE, then those who want to pursue it can spend more time to make the grade," said Malik, 18, who was born in Dubai to Pakistani parents.
Malik, a first-year mechanical engineering student at the Heriot-Watt University in Dubai, has already represented the UAE at three age group tournaments in continental competitions, from the Under 15s to the Under 17s, and is now the oldest and most senior member of the country's Elite Cup squad.
He was introduced to the game at Arab Unity School in Dubai at the age of 12, and has graduated from the school competitions to now play in division one club tournaments.
"We are a very young and balanced squad, and we can do well in this type of competition," Malik said of the Under 19 squad he will be leading in the cup competition.
"We have never trained and prepared as much as we did in the past two months, and I guess all that will benefit us."
Malik is an all-rounder who bats at the top order and bowls at medium pace.
He took six for 14 against Saudi Arabia in the U15 ACC Asia Cup and his team will be looking for a similar telling contribution from him with both bat and ball in the tournament in Thailand.