x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Khurram retains UAE captaincy for Intercontinental Cup

The selectors announced the 14-strong and 'well-balanced' squad that will be competing at the Intercontinental Cup match in Kenya later this month.

Khurram Khan has been retained as captain of the UAE team for their opening Intercontinental Cup match in Kenya this month.

The selectors, who met late this evening, have made only two changes to the 14-strong squad that won the Division Two in April without losing a game.

Bhakthiyar Hamid Palekar, the opening batsman, gets his first international call-up at the age of 31, while Abdul Rehman, the middle-order batsman is making a comeback. The duo replace Naeemuddin Aslam, who is not available due to personal reasons, and Swapnil Patil is on holiday.

The team is packed with five spinners as the selectors stick to their traditional strength, while three pace bowlers will be making the trip.

"It is a well-balanced side," said Mazhar Khan, the Emirates Cricket Board administrator and conveyor of the selection committee.

"You have to get 20 wickets to win a match. So I believe we have a decent pace attack as well as a very good spin attack. I suppose it all depends on how the wicket in Nairobi will be, but I am sure given an opportunity, our spinners can do a good job, too."

The UAE will start their tour with two 50-over matches on July 25 and 26 before playing Kenya in the four-day match from July 28.

Kenya beat the UAE by 81 runs in the only Intercontinental Cup match between the teams, in 2008 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

"We have not done well against Kenya in the past," said Mohammed Lokhandwala, one of the selectors. "But this is another game, another day. We are confident that the boys will fight hard and try their best to get a good result."

Mazhar said: "I am confident the boys will definitely put up a good show.

"It's a balanced side in the sense that we have to play two 50-over matches as well. So we have a mixture of youth and experience there."