x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

West Indies test for UAE in Dubai

The UAE will face a pace assault on Saturday when they take guard against Kemar Roach and Kevin McLean at the ICC Global Cricket Academy.

Kemar Roach bowled with pace for West Indies against West Indies Academy in Dubai on Thursday.
Kemar Roach bowled with pace for West Indies against West Indies Academy in Dubai on Thursday.

DUBAI // Rare are the times when warm-up friendlies overshadow the main event, but next week's Intercontinental Cup tie seems somewhat unimportant when set against the fact the UAE are playing West Indies.

Both the home side and the touring West Indians are preparing for more significant matches. The UAE face an "away" match in Sharjah against Afghanistan, in the four-day competition, starting on October 5.

The Caribbean side, meanwhile, are preparing to travel to Bangladesh for two Tests and three one-day internationals after a stop over in Dubai.

Saturday's game at the ICC Global Cricket Academy is the first time the UAE have played a Test nation since the 2008 Asia Cup in Pakistan.

"Obviously, this is a big match for us," Kabir Khan, the UAE coach, said.

"We want to do our best against them, they are playing the game for practice but we want to give them a very good game first of all.

"We will try our best. You can't go into any game with a losing attitude, but they are a Test nation so there will be a difference there."

The UAE will be without their most senior player. Khurram Khan has had to miss out as he was unable to change his shift at work.

As an employee of Emirates Airline, he has had to fly to Houston instead of play against the West Indies.

The challenge facing the UAE batsmen in Khurram's absence is significant.

They rarely get the chance to expose themselves to high quality quick bowling, but they are sure to face that today.

West Indies is known as the home of fast-bowling, and in Kemar Roach, the Barbados and Deccan Chargers pace-bowler, they have one of the quickest in the world game at present.

How long he will be able to keep up the pace in the intense heat of late summer in Dubai, however, remains to be seen.

For Thursday's practice match against the West Indies Academy, the conditions were suffocating.

When he was stationed at third-man in that game, during the breaks in his opening spell, Roach hurdled the picket-fence lining the field to try to find some shade under the small saplings beside the ground.

Not that the senior team had to be out in the heat for long. In the first of three matches they will play here, the seniors were caught cold by their national academy, as they were fired out for just 73.

Kevin McClean, a young fast bowler, stated his case for future inclusion by taking five for 19.

Despite the torrid start to their tour, Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, is pleased to be in the UAE to prepare for more important battles ahead.

"It is certainly hotter than back at home - it rarely gets into the 40s in the Caribbean," Gibson said.

"We are expecting it to be hot in Bangladesh, maybe not this hot, but this week will be good acclimatisation.

"These are excellent facilities, so it is great chance to come here and utilise them and get some practice in before heading over to Bangladesh."

pradley@thenational.ae


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