x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Family assembles team of Warriors with aim of spreading game

The bid to spread the word about cricket among Emiratis ahead of next year's Asian Games has been boosted by the inception of a new club for UAE nationals and UAEborn players.

DUBAI // The bid to spread the word about cricket among Emiratis ahead of next year's Asian Games has been boosted by the inception of a new club for UAE nationals and UAE born players. The newly-formed Emirates Warriors will take their first steps into competitive cricket this month when they play in the ongoing Conmix Ramadan Twenty20 tournament in Al Dhaid. The Warriors are a family-led club, chaired by Faisal Farooq, managed by his son Qais, and captained by another of his sons, Salman.

"The aim of this club is to promote cricket among UAE nationals and UAE born players and we will not be fielding any expats, even if we have to take to the field with nine players," said the captain, Salman Farooq, 27. "The point here is that we don't have anything against any team or the Emirates Cricket Board [ECB]. We are here to play cricket and the message is very clear: We are not rebels, we are cricketers with an aim to reach the top some day.

"We just want to show the people in the country that UAE nationals and UAE born players can combine together to make a good team." The side's contingent of six UAE nationals includes a third brother, Adel Farooq, as well as Mohammed Ali Joher, Ali Faysel and Azaan Adel. The squad is bolstered by 10 other players who were born in the UAE, a number of whom have represented the national team, such as Owais and Obaid Hameed, Sameer Zia and Mohammed Fawad.

According to the club's mission statement, the Warriors aim to "source, identify and develop UAE nationals and UAE born players who are interested and passionate about cricket. "We want to enable them to acquire the skills, experience and exposure necessary to possibly go ahead and represent the UAE cricket team in international tournaments." The ECB's own development side - under the guidance of the national team coach Colin Wells - made a fine start to the Al Dhaid floodlit competition.

Ahmed Raza, the left-arm spin bowler, continued his fine recent form as he took three wickets in the ECB Blues' 35-run win over Lahore Gymkhana. pradley@thenational.ae