x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Just another Canadian swing for UAE cricket captain Khurram Khan

UAE team captain Khurram Khan hopes his team's experience abroad the next two weeks will help their 2015 World Cup chances, writes Amith Passela.

Captain Khurram Khan, right, is no stranger to Canada as the UAE will be in competition through August 11. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Captain Khurram Khan, right, is no stranger to Canada as the UAE will be in competition through August 11. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Khurram Khan's debut for the UAE came versus Canada. He was the top performer for his team in the ICC Trophy in 2001, scoring 243 for an average of 60.75 and took 19 wickets in the eight games on that tour.

He and teammate Arshad Ali are the only remaining members of that tour who were in the 14-player UAE side that left for Canada on Monday.

The UAE play Canada in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup, followed by two 50-over-a-side fixtures in the World Cricket League Championship (WCL) and a couple of Twenty20 games.

"Twelve years has passed by and it is indeed a nice feeling to be still around," the UAE captain said. "This is my third trip with the national team to Canada and I have a fair knowledge of what to expect and share that experience with my teammates."

The UAE open the tour with the four-day game, but it will be the one-day matches that offer the chance to rekindle their hopes of qualifying for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

However, Khurram isn't looking beyond winning the matches in Canada, as their chances of qualification for the World Cup would largely depend on the results of other games involving Scotland, Holland and Afghanistan.

"We will try to win every game and see what happens thereafter," he said. "For us, we need to win both the matches in Canada and thereafter the two home games against Namibia in October, and then hope some other results will come in favour of us.

"It is a bit complicated at this point and that's the reason we want to just focus on winning the matches."

Khurram believes playing the four-day game first will provide them with an opportunity to adapt to the conditions.

"From my experience, we need to deal with deliveries that seam and swing prodigiously in Canada," he said. "We have tried to create seam and swing during our training here. The team has trained for over two months ahead of the tour and we are pretty confident of returning with the desired results."

Canada are the bottom team, on 10 points, in the eight-team Cup table, with the UAE above them on 33, but an outright victory can take them two places ahead of Netherlands and Kenya to fifth.

In the WCL table, Ireland are on 20 points with two games left against Scotland, who share the second spot with Holland on 15. Holland face Canada.

Afghanistan (12) are left with four games against Namibia and Kenya, while the UAE (10) are up against Canada and Namibia. A win carries two points.

However, the UAE will get another opportunity to qualify as the six remaining teams from the WCL Championship will feature in January's ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand.

That's where they will lock horns with Hong Kong, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and Uganda for the final two spots in the World Cup.

apassela@thenational.ae

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