National team face a potential decisive Cricket World Cup Qualifier against the Dutch on Thursday
UAE batsman Chirag Suri looks to kick on against Netherlands after 'dream come true' debut
Chirag Suri said making his one-day international debut against the West Indies was a “dream come true” - and now he is hoping he can influence the UAE’s World Cup qualification campaign for the better.
The 23-year-old batsman was thrust into the side to replace Ashfaq Ahmed at the top of the order for Tuesday’s 60-run loss to the Caribbean side.
“For any cricketer who starts playing cricket it’s a dream to play international cricket and it was my ODI debut, so it’s nothing short of a dream come true,” Suri said.
“It was even more special the fact that it was against the West Indies which is a team I’ve grown up watching and consists of some world renowned players. I’d be lying if I said there were no nerves but I knew I had trained hard and was ready for the opportunity.”
Ashfaq strained a hamstring while batting against Papua New Guinea in the opening match of the World Cup Qualifier in Harare on Sunday.
While the rest of the side enjoyed a day away from training on Wednesday, ahead of a potentially decisive encounter with the Netherlands, Ashfaq was working on his rehabilitation with Asif Ijaz, the UAE physio, at Harare Sports Club.
If he does continue to deputise against the Dutch, Suri has shown he is ready for the responsibility.
His effort against the West Indies typified a courageous display by the national team’s batsmen. He was hit on the shoulder by a fierce bouncer by left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell early on, but looks classy thereafter.
When he was dismissed for 38 he was visibly distraught, as he said he realised he had missed out on a chance to make a big score.
“Cottrell and Kemar Roach are both quick and also like to bang the ball in short, but I knew the way I’ve been playing I would be able to tackle them if I got myself in,” Suri said.
“That’s what happened. I feel I missed out on a big score because the way I was playing I was very comfortable, and once the fast bowlers were out of the attack there was not lot in it for the spinners.
“I definitely will learn from this and take it into the games ahead and look to get bigger scores for my team.”
Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, praised Suri’s contribution to an uplifting display by the UAE batsmen, and he wants to marry that to an improved bowling effort against the Netherlands.
“If we are going to get to the next stage, which we strongly believe that we can, then against the Netherlands we have to show the same intent with the bat, but we need to improve with certain areas with the ball,” Brown said.