x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Newcomers in UAE cricket team must put their hands up

It was heartening to see the seniors perform against Kenya in the recently-concluded Intercontinental Cup four-day game in Nairobi, but Kabir Khan, the coach, needs to encourage the upcoming players to do the same in the future.

The euphoria over the UAE's emphatic 266-run win over Kenya in their Intercontinental Cup match in Nairobi has probably settled by now and knowing Kabir Khan, the coach, he must be preparing a stark assessment of the tour.

The victory over Kenya, a powerhouse among Associate nations and a team with one-day international status, has to be celebrated. The UAE do not have a good record in the longer format of the game and Kabir is determined to improve that.

The players also have no exposure to the four-day game domestically, with Twenty20 or 30-over cricket being their staple diet.

Picking from such a group was a tough task for Kabir and the heat during the build-up did not make it any easier as they had to train under lights in the evening, which meant using white balls. Kabir was unhappy about that as red balls were to be used in Kenya.

All that, however, mattered little in Nairobi as three senior players - Khurram Khan, Saqib Ali and Amjad Javed - combined to seal the win.

While the performance of the seniors is welcome, the coach should be a little concerned at the inability of the newcomers to perform. Shaitan Anwar is one of the most feared batsmen in the country, but he scored just one run in two innings in the four-day game.

For UAE cricket to prosper at the international stage, the likes of Anwar and others will need to start putting their hands up.

Khurram is already 40 and he might not be around for many years, but with the newcomers fumbling, he might be forced to continue playing for longer than he would like.

arizvi@thenational.ae


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