Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 1 October 2020

Dougie Brown looks to the future after naming youthful UAE squad for World Cup League Division Two series

Five senior players recently suspended as part of a corruption scandal has given opportunities to a handful of younger players

Karthik Meiyappan, the 19-year-old leg spinner, will get his chance to stake a claim for a place in the UAE squad. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Karthik Meiyappan, the 19-year-old leg spinner, will get his chance to stake a claim for a place in the UAE squad. Chris Whiteoak / The National

UAE coach Dougie Brown said he has no concerns about his youthful squad’s inexperience as the national team looks to emerge from a corruption scandal that rocked cricket in the Emirates.

Brown’s new look squad includes three teenagers, leg spinner Karthik Meiyappan, 19, wicketkeeper Vritya Aravind, 17, and opener Jonathan Figy, 18.

Batsmen Chirag Suri, 24, and Darius D’Silva, 21 retain their places in the 14-player squad for the ICC World Cup League Division Two series against Scotland and the USA in Sharjah and Dubai taking place December 8-15.

Brown’s hand has been forced somewhat in terms of selection following the suspension of a number of leading UAE players, including captain Mohammed Naveed, batsmen Shaiman Anwar and Ashfaq Ahmed, wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber, and bowler Qadeer Ahmed.

All five players have been suspended by the ICC for various corruption offences, and their absences proved damaging to the UAE’s hopes of qualifying for the 2020 T20 World Cup.

“We all know what happened and I don’t want to go all over again,” Brown told The National. “We lost a significant number of senior players and you know clearly we have to replace out of necessity. That said we also knew that a number of young players who potentially have been in a position to be selected before.

“There are many young players for us to have a more dynamic side. They may not have experience at this moment, but you know when is the right time to play somebody, if somebody is good enough, it doesn’t matter if they were young or older.

“We are rebuilding of course but at the same time we need to try and take stock of the job at hand. We are not going into these fixtures thinking it's okay to accommodate these youngsters.

“We are looking at these fixtures with a view to trying to win them. That has to be the primary objective. It just so happens this with a slightly younger team than what we otherwise would have had.”

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - October 22, 2018: Head coaches Dougie Brown of UAE and Justin Langer Australia at the end of the match between the UAE and Australia in a T20 international. Monday, October 22nd, 2018 at Zayed cricket stadium oval, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - October 22, 2018: Head coaches Dougie Brown of UAE and Justin Langer Australia at the end of the match between the UAE and Australia in a T20 international. Monday, October 22nd, 2018 at Zayed cricket stadium oval, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

While Brown has full faith in the abilities of his young players, the coach said they must prove their worth to cement their places in the side.

“They need to justify their inclusion in the national side by way of performances next to their names,” he said.

“Karthik, Virtya, Jonathan and Darius have been exceptional to be in the national team. Obviously, these games are not about providing opportunities but selecting the best team for each game.

“Chirag (Suri) was considered to be a young player until last year. He’s 24.

“I think what you need to remember is that we know we've got some senior players still in the squad. Mohammed Usman, Rohan Mustafa and Ahmed Raza with a few others in the squad have performed extremely well over the years.

“We are playing Scotland and the USA, and they are strong sides. Scotland recently beat England. We know how good a side they potentially can be.

“We know that the USA have some very dangerous players that we're going to have to be on top of the game if we are going to compete against them.”

Updated: December 6, 2019 03:05 PM

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