The UAE batsman Haroon Iftikhar says he is "lucky to be alive" after escaping an accident on Emirates Road in which two cars were written off with nothing worse than a fractured thumb.
The Abu Dhabi-based corporate executive is expected to be sidelined from the game for six weeks, at a time when the national team face their busiest period of a vital year of cricket here.
While he is likely to be counting down the days until he can return to the playing field, for now he is just grateful his injuries were not more serious.
"It was a major accident and I am lucky to be alive," Iftikhar said. "It was a very bad experience, but what can we do?
"Even the police officers were saying to us we were lucky nobody was injured and that only the cars were damaged."
Iftikhar's car and another vehicle were written off after colliding with that of an inexperienced driver which had stopped across two lanes of the road in Dubai.
The cricketer says he had felt compelled to comfort the culprit following the incident.
"I was saved by the air bag," the UAE player said.
"The guy was crying in the middle of the road saying, 'This was my mistake'.
"I said, 'Stop crying, man, we are lucky we are standing here alive. It happened but we are here now and there is no need to cry'. He was only 18 years old and had just got his licence four days before."
The doctor's report on his injuries has been forwarded to the ICC with a view to the UAE calling up a replacement for Iftikhar in the squad for the Intercontinental Cup against Ireland next week.
The timing is cruel for the 30-year-old batsman from Sialkot in Pakistan, who had been in the process of cementing his place in the national team.
He had been in a rich vein of form at the batting crease of late and might have been relied upon to provide some much needed stability to the batting order in the first-class match, in the absence of Saqib Ali.
Saqib, another Abu Dhabi-based batsman who has been one of the mainstays of the national team for years, is waiting on doctor's advice as to whether or not to undergo surgery on a bulging disk in his lower back.
"It is frustrating," said Iftikhar, who was part of the UAE squad which shared the ACC Trophy title on home soil last year.
"We have been concentrating on these Ireland matches for the last seven or eight months because they are so important.
"These are the matches we are going to rely on for qualification. If we can win these matches we are definitely going to qualify, inshallah.
"I was in good form, I had scored a hundred in an A Division quarter-final 10 days back, so I was ready. What happened was unfortunate."
The road accident also means months of hard work and sacrifice have gone to waste. Iftikhar is one of a clutch of players in the UAE squad who are based in the capital yet have travelled to Sharjah for national team training on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights following a full day at the office.
It is an age-old problem in a country where cricket exclusively remains an amateur pursuit and where work must come first.
However, Aaqib Javed, the national team head coach, says his players have been commendably committed to living a double life.
"Since I have been here the response from the guys has been phenomenal," the former Pakistan seam bowler said. "They want to do it.
"The UAE haven't improved the financial side. It is difficult to bring money into it, and these guys are still amateur.
"The guys have worked all day, then in the evening some of them have come [to Sharjah Cricket Stadium] from Abu Dhabi to train. They go back afterwards and then they have to be at work again tomorrow.
"So when you consider that and you see enthusiasm like the players have shown, it makes you really thrilled."
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