DUBAI // The UAE vice captain, who admitted last week he will probably retire if the Emirates fail to qualify for the 2011 ICC World Cup, is confident the future of the country is in good hands. Mohammed Tauqir has been a mainstay of the side for a decade, and with the captain Khurram Khan also likely to end his playing days within two years, there may soon be a cavernous gap to fill in the national team.
However, Tauqir believes there are positive signs for the future due to the recent emergence of Rameez Shahzad, 20, Shoaib Sarwar, 21, and Qasim Zubair, 20. "There are a few very good youngsters coming through," says the Emirati off-spinner. "Shoaib Sarwar is there now, Rameez played very well [in the recent ACC Trophy] and is a good cricketer. "Fahad [al Hashimi, 26, the seam-bowler who is one of the few Emiratis close to national selection] is also still a youngster.
"These guys are really good, they just need a bit more experience and more maturity in the game. The future of UAE cricket looks to be in good hands." Tauqir says the maturing of Zubair, a Dubai-based university student, and the Sharjah-born Sarwar has provided a boost to the worryingly bare stock of seam bowlers eligible for the UAE. "I have been very impressed by Qasim Zubair and Shoaib Sarwar in particular," adds Tauqir, who is the country's most-capped player. "They have a lot of game sense and have wise heads on young shoulders.
"I think they are going to perform well and gel nicely with the senior players for a long time to come." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org