UAE play three 50-over matches in Amsterdam this week
Rohan Mustafa keen to make up for time lost to visa issues when UAE face Netherlands
Rohan Mustafa has said he is eager to make up for lost time when the UAE play the Netherlands in three 50 over-matches this week in Amsterdam.
The captain had been due to play club cricket in the UK this summer, only for the plan to be scuppered because of visa issues.
Then the national team squad had to abort a scheduled warm up tour to England, which would have seen them training at the Test ground in Edgbaston, for a similar reason.
The administrative issues reached the extent where the three-match series in the Netherlands was even delayed by a week.
The build up has been far from ideal ahead of matches against the side ranked top of the World Cricket League (WCL), the 50-over competition for sides beyond the Test sphere. Although the UAE’s form has been strong in 2017, they remain bottom of the eight-team WCL.
Results in the series in Amsterdam do not count towards the WCL, and Mustafa says his side are “in good shape” despite the lead up.
“We have been working very hard, but we haven’t had any matches,” Mustafa said. “There was Ramadan, so the matches were night matches, and because it is so hot we haven’t been able to play 50-over matches.
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“I spoke to the coach about playing practice matches, but you can’t play 50 over games in that heat.
“Still, we have been working very hard in the nets and we are eager to score runs and take wickets. I believe we are in good shape.
“It was a little bit frustrating. If you are going to play in European conditions, you have to have some practice matches, and we haven’t had that. But we will not use that as an excuse.”
In future, the Emirates Cricket Board hope to send some of their centrally contracted professionals to the UK to play club cricket during the summer months, when domestic cricket in the UAE is restricted by the heat.
Mustafa was due to be the first beneficiary of the idea, only for it to fall through because of complications in the visa process.
“It was going to be a good opportunity, but a few problems came up and because of that it was impossible for me to go,” he said.
If players are to be sent to the UK club game in coming years, Mustafa hopes it is to play the toughest standard possible.
“If you play in UAE, you can face a lot of fast bowlers coming from Pakistan who have played first-class cricket,” he said.
“I have spoken to a few of my friends who have played club cricket in England who said sometimes you play at very poor grounds, with aged players.
“But the club I was going to, [coach Dougie Brown] said I would be getting good, tough cricket, and that if I succeeded there I would get a lot of confidence.
“If it is going to be like that, you will get a lot of confidence, which of course is why a lot of international players go and play there.”
The series marks the first official assignment for Dougie Brown as the new permanent coach of the UAE, who said ahead of the tour: “We want to aspire to be the No 1 ranked Associate team in the world over the next period of time.”