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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

T10 League: Team captains need to trust UAE players more to have genuine impact on competition

Keeping this in mind, organiers plan to ensure every line up have at least two locally-based players in expanded competition next season

The success of Paul Stirling, right, proves players from Associate teams can shine in tournaments such as the T10 League. Francois Nel / Getty Images
The success of Paul Stirling, right, proves players from Associate teams can shine in tournaments such as the T10 League. Francois Nel / Getty Images

The organisers of the T10 League plan to have four UAE players per squad, in an expanded eight-team competition next time round. Two of those, they say, will have to be in each starting line up.

Which is a good start, and a neat gesture by the league’s owners, Shaji Ul Mulk and Salman Iqbal, businessmen who have been resident in UAE for most of their lives.

It is only a starting point, though. The team captains have to trust in their locally-based players if they are to have a genuine impact on the competition.

Virender Sehwag, the Maratha Arabians captain, said he was heading back to India with some inside knowledge of potential bargains from UAE and Afghanistan when it comes to the auction for next year’s Indian Premier League.

Virender Sehwag is looking at the possibility of acquiring UAE players for the IPL next year. Maratha Arabians
Virender Sehwag is looking at the possibility of acquiring UAE players for the IPL next year. Maratha Arabians

But he must have been looking very closely. Except for Mohammed Naveed, the UAE players were not given the best chance to show their talents.

Rohan Mustafa, who opens for the UAE – and with great effect over the past year – was listed to come in at No 7 for Kerala Kings. The only time he made it to the wicket was to hit the winning runs, via a thick outside edge, against Maratha Arabians in the semi-final.

At least he was happy to point out that he had a better strike rate than Kieron Pollard, his vaunted teammate. At 400 from the one ball he faced, his strike rate was actually the highest in the tournament.

Ghulam Shabber, who has been in prime touch for the national team of late, too, did not get to the batting crease. He was indifferent as wicketkeeper for Punjabi Legends, to the point where he was replaced by Luke Ronchi with the gloves, and was subsequently hidden in the field.

Saqlain Haidar was exemplary with the gloves for Pakhtoon, but did not get a chance to bat, while Zahoor Khan got the wicket of Eoin Morgan for Maratha Arabians, in an otherwise tough time for bowlers.

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Mustafa, who did manage two brilliant run outs for Kerala Kings, reasoned that the short preparation time for the T10 League gave the players minimal chances to impress their captains and coaches.

“We didn’t get that much time to practice with the other players, so they don’t know about us,” Mustafa said.

“But Paul Stirling [the Ireland player who starred opening the batting for Kerala] did a great job. He was an Associate player until one month ago, so I think they should trust us and give us opportunities so we can show [the best of] ourselves.

“It is not their mistake. They didn’t have chance to practise with us, so they don’t know much about us. If we get more time, they will see us and know about the players.”