x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Aziz sends captain Khurram's selection plan in a spin

The off-spinner, a replacement for UAE vice-captain Mohammed Tauqir, took four for 44 in the 43-run win over Bermuda, to give the captain and coach an unexpected selection headache.

Dubai // The UAE's stock of high quality spin bowlers went from plentiful to overflowing yesterday as Nasir Aziz, an Ajman-based salesman, took four wickets on his debut for the national team.

The off-spinner was only playing so that Mohammed Tauqir, the veteran vice-captain, could rest ahead of today's World Cricket League Division Two final against Namibia.

However, the Karachi-born newcomer ended up with four for 44 in the 43-run win over Bermuda, to give the captain and coach an unexpected selection headache.

"It is definitely a little bit of a headache for us, but a good one," Khurram Khan, the captain, said. "We have a few hours to think about it, so let's see what happens."

The UAE have never wanted for spin bowlers, but this tournament has been excessive even by their standards.

So far, they have only used one seam bowler in each match, normally Amjad Javed, but in this case another debutant, the UAE under 19s captain, Aqib Malik.

Even then, they have yet to send down as much as 10 overs of seam in a game, and Malik was only granted three overs with the new ball before Khurram swapped to an all-spin attack for the rest of the match.

What Aziz, 24, does offer is a potent doosra. The debutant, who plays his domestic club cricket for his employers, Eurocon Alubond, picked up three Bermuda wickets with doosras.

"It is hard to get into the team with so many spinners," he said. "I got my chance because of Tauqir being rested, and he has been bowling very well, but I am happy with how I did."

Defeat consigned Bermuda to the third division of international cricket, just over four years since they appeared at the World Cup in the West Indies.

The ramifications could be far reaching, as they will now lose out on substantial ICC funding.