UAE v Nepal: Chance for hosts to test three other players, says Dougie Brown
Coach determined to ensure 'broader player base' with Rohan Mustafa, Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad suspended
Dougie Brown believes UAE cricket can thrive despite the suspensions to three of their leading players when they face a Nepal side he deems “an up-and-coming force in global cricket”.
The national team will play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s against a Nepal side that includes the globetrotting leg-spin star Sandeep Lamichhane, starting on Friday.
Rohan Mustafa, Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad will be conspicuous absentees for the home side, as they serve bans for breaching the Emirates Cricket Board code of conduct.
The long-serving trio have been the most reliable performers in the national team in the recent past, but Brown, the coach, reckons their absence is an opportunity to expand the senior team’s player base.
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“Looking on a positive side, without the three of them being out, we might not have had the chance to look at three other people,” Brown said.
“For me it is really exciting. If we are going to continue to compete globally, against our peers and those teams just ahead of us, we need to make sure our player base is much broader than it currently is.
“We know that. We will get a chance to see a young player, who has maybe come through the system, go out and compete against a Nepal side who are very much an up-and-coming force in global cricket.”
Despite being hit with eight-week bans from playing – for tweeting criticism of the organisers of last month’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup - Mustafa, Raza and Rameez have remained part of the training squad.
Brown praised them for the “great maturity” shown in response to their reprimands.
“Training has been brilliant,” Brown said. “There was a sanction on the of three of them. They miss this series. Let’s hope that is the end of it, and we continue to move forward as a team.
“All three players have been involved in training. They’re been excellent. They have been working hard, they have been helpful, and tried to help the squad for this series against Nepal.
“There has been great maturity on their behalf. Hopefully they learn from the wrongdoing in the initial instance.
“Don’t get me wrong, we would love to have these three players. We don’t. But the players that are going to replace them are really, really good players. This is their chance.
“You might just get the one chance. Professional sport is like that, where you might just get one chance. When you are faced with adversity, the one thing that I see is opportunity.”
Pictures: UAE and Nepal cricket encounters over the years
Updated: January 25, 2019 10:21 AM