Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 June 2019

Mohammed Naveed says UAE have 'four to six captains' as he retains armband for USA series

The fast bowler replaced Rohan Mustafa in the role for the series against Nepal in Dubai in January, as the former incumbent served a suspension

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 31, 2019: UAE's captain Mohammad Naveed directs his field in the the match between the UAE and Nepal in an international T20 series. Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at ICC, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak/The National
Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 31, 2019: UAE's captain Mohammad Naveed directs his field in the the match between the UAE and Nepal in an international T20 series. Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at ICC, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak/The National

Mohammed Naveed will stay as captain of the UAE for the series against the United States, but he insists he will be far from the only leader in the team.

The fast bowler replaced Rohan Mustafa in the role for the series against Nepal in Dubai in January, as the former incumbent served a suspension.

Mustafa, Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad were banned for eight weeks by the Emirates Cricket Board, after taking to social media to criticise the organisation of the Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Pakistan at the end of 2018.

That ban has now elapsed, and all three will be restored to the squad for the series of two Twenty20 internationals and three 50-over matches against USA – but Naveed has retained the captaincy.

Naveed says there is no ill feeling between him and his predecessor, and he is grateful to have the skills of all three of the returning players to call on.

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“Believe me, it is not just me and Rohan – there are four to six senior players, and we all feel like the captain,” Naveed said.

“It is not the case of, ‘Oh, I’m the captain’. We all feel like the captain. It is not like there are differences between me and Rohan. We are very close.”

Mustafa, Raza and Rameez were all frustrated observers during the Nepal series, unable to assist as the UAE were beaten 2-1 in each of the T20 and one-day international series.

“The boys have been working very hard since the end of the Nepal series, trying to fix the mistakes,” Naveed said.

“The only way we can remove mistakes is by working hard in the gym, practicing batting, bowling, fielding, and trying to improve our skills.

“Another thing is there are three boys, Rohan, Ahmed and Rameez [coming back]. We are a proper team.”

There is plenty to motivate the home players ahead of the USA series, which starts with the first T20 international on Friday at the ICC Academy in Dubai, starting at 2pm.

The three returning players have obvious incentives, given the gloomy reason for their recent absence, while the likes of Naveed also have personal motivations.

Naveed is No 14 in the world rankings for T20I bowlers. A strong return against USA could see him edge back towards the top 10, while Shaiman Anwar might be looking to extend the gap between himself in 16th in the batting, and Virat Kohli, who is one place lower.

Dougie Brown, the coach, is hoping it all adds up to a productive display so the side can banish the memories of the disappointments against Nepal.

“We have a down period on the back of Nepal, where we didn’t play well enough to get the results we wanted,” Brown said.

“If something like that had to happen, that was the right time for it to happen, because it allowed us to address what we needed to address.

“It was blatantly obvious what we needed to address, and I’m excited to see how we respond to these T20 and 50-over matches that we played against Nepal, to see what improvements we have made.

“The long-term vision is qualifying for the T20 World Cup from the Qualifier which is here [in October and November].

“There is a lot to play for and it starts with the two T20 games we play against USA. We don’t really know much about USA. We know some of their players, not all, and we have done some digging and investigating to find out more, but a lot of it is going to be about how we play.”

Updated: March 13, 2019 09:50 AM

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