Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 June 2020

Robin Singh backs UAE youth for the Western Region Asia Cup Qualifier in Oman

Alishan Sharafu could become the third youngest debutant

UAE cricket’s new commitment to youth is continuing apace as four teenagers have been named in the squad for the Western Region Asia Cup Qualifier in Oman.

Alishan Sharafu will become the third youngest debutant for the UAE if selected in the XI during the tournament in Al Amerat.

The Grade 11 student at Our Own Al Warqa school in Dubai turned 17 while on tour with the UAE at the Under 19 World Cup last month.

He joins fellow 17-year-old schoolboy Vriitya Aravind in the squad for the 20-over tournament.

Ansh Tandon, 18, is also in line for a debut after receiving his first call up to the senior squad.

Karthik Meiyappan, the 19-year-old leg-spinner, retains his place having impressed in two series of one-day international cricket for the senior team so far.

The competition is the first phase of qualifying for the T20 Asia Cup, which will be staged later this year as a precursor to the T20 World Cup – and possibly be held in UAE.

The two finalists will advance to a four-team competition in Malaysia, scheduled for August, where they will meet the top two sides from a similar event in Asian Cricket Council’s eastern region.

Despite their youth, the UAE are heavy favourites to advance from a group that includes Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The tournament in Muscat is the first of Robin Singh’s tenure as director of cricket.

The former India all-rounder said earlier this month, when he was unveiled as the replacement for Dougie Brown, the former coach, that he would continue to back youth.

“I would like to see a lot of young players come into the side,” Singh said at the press conference announcing his arrival. “I am focused on development as well.”

The first squad under his official charge still bears all the hallmarks of Brown’s recent efforts to reconstruct the national team, in the wake of suspensions to a number of senior players on corruption charges.

Sharafu was known to have impressed the former coach, who was looking forward to giving the powerful young batsman his chance in this series – before he was summarily replaced.

Given his newness to the job, Singh’s imprint is only likely to be noticed in the coming months.

“I am sure we will change up a few things,” Singh said at his introductory press conference.

“It has to make sense when we change it. It will not be just for the sake of changing something.

“If something is working, we need to see how we can take it beyond that. We are looking at everything in a very positive way.”

UAE squad

Ahmed Raza, Rohan Mustafa, Alishan Sharafu, Ansh Tandon, Vriitya Aravind, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmed, Karthik Meiyappan, Basil Hameed, Mohammed Usman, Mohammed Ayaz, Zahoor Khan, Chirag Suri, Sultan Ahmed

Updated: February 22, 2020 10:31 AM

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