x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Iqbal to play in T20 Cup

Faisal Iqbal, the Pakistan Test player, will be the star attraction at the Sharjah Ramadan Twenty20 Cup when he turns out for the Rufi Real Estate team.

Faisal Iqbal, the Pakistan Test player, will be the star attraction at the Sharjah Ramadan Twenty20 Cup when he turns out for the Rufi Real Estate team. The competition has often been sprinkled with stardust in the past: last year Mohammed Sami, Iqbal's fellow Pakistani and one of the world's fastest bowlers, was the main draw.

Now Iqbal has been drafted in to play for the side of the tournament's main sponsors, Rufi - and he will not be last big player, according to the team captain Rameez Mansoor Rufi. "I can confirmed Faisal Iqbal will be playing for us, and I am hopeful of announcing a few more players in the next couple of days. "Hopefully I will have seven Test players in my team, with the others coming from first-class cricket in India and Sri Lanka. We think we can win it," said Rufi.

Iqbal initially rose to prominence mainly for being the nephew of one of Pakistan's finest ever players, Javed Miandad. However, he has also proven to be a player of substance in his own right and has scored centuries in both Test and one-day internationals for Pakistan. Iqbal will be in action at the Sharjah Stadium tomorrow night, when Rufi take on Al Barakah in the late match, starting at 10.40pm.

Another Pakistan batsman, Hasan Raza, is back to play for Eurocon, who he also represented last year. Raza has since established himself as one of Twenty20 cricket's most dangerous batsmen and as one of the top performers for the Lahore Badshahs in the Indian Cricket League. Emirates Islamic Bank won the opening match of the popular Sharjah tournament, which will be played throughout the holy month. Naeem Khan earned the man-of-the-match award after taking four wickets for three runs in the comfortable win over GCAI.

Ahmed Raza, the young left-arm spinner, reminded the UAE selectors of his talents with a miserly three-wicket haul for the victors. Raza, 19, has already played six first-class matches for the national team, and was a mainstay of the line-up until the start of the year, but is currently out of favour. pradley@thenational.ae