x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Tauqir not pressing the panic button

The UAE's cricket team vice-captain Mohammed Tauqir has dismissed the threat of Asia's up and coming nations.

The UAE Cricket team. Vice captain Mohammed Tauqir is confident his side will defend their ACC Trophy title.
The UAE Cricket team. Vice captain Mohammed Tauqir is confident his side will defend their ACC Trophy title.
DUBAI // The UAE's vice-captain Mohammed Tauqir has dismissed the threat of Asia's up and coming nations and is confident his side will defend their ACC Trophy title for the fourth time in succession in Malaysia this week. Tauqir is the most established Emirati cricketer and will be playing in his seventh edition of the competition, which starts tomorrow. The holders take on Saudi Arabia at the Royal Military Academy in Kuala Lumpur in the tournament opener.
The national team have enjoyed a monopoly on the title, having won the competition for Asia's elite non-Test playing nations in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006. However, Nepal, the hosts Malaysia and, most strikingly, Afghanistan have made great strides on the cricket field in recent times, and may be ready to wrest the Trophy from the UAE. Yet Tauqir believes his side are still the best in Asia, outside of the Test sphere. He thinks the experience garnered via the Asia Cup last month, where they showed much promise despite two hefty defeats against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, will provide the foundation for a successful defence.
"The other sides may be getting better, but we are still very confident we will win the ACC Trophy again," said the 37-year-old all-rounder. "Our confidence is very high after the way we played at the Asia Cup, and the way we matched up to full Test sides. "There were a few very good individual performances in Lahore: Amjad Ali's batting, Khurram Khan made a good half-century and I was happy with how I bowled.
"OK, the two defeats were by high margins, and we did lack in a few areas. We probably did not play to our full potential. "But we should not be judged on two matches. Bangladesh are a professional side, and Sri Lanka are world class. If we had played more games, I definitely think we would have equipped ourselves better." The UAE were scheduled to reach Kuala Lumpur last night, after dodging the showers while in transit in Colombo yesterday.
pradley@thenational.ae