UAE star Naveed to play in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz

UAE pacer Mohammed Naveed will once again test himself against some of the world’s best when he lines up in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz next month.

Denzil Pinto
by Denzil Pinto
23rd February 2017

article:23rd February 2017

Hong Kong bound: Naveed
Hong Kong bound: Naveed

The 29-year-old will represent Hung Hom JD Jaguars for the second consecutive season in the five-day competition, starting March 8. However, last year the event did not feature big international stars.

Naveed will be the second UAE player to play in a world-class T20 competition following Chirag Suri’s purchase by Gujarat Lions in the Indian Premier League on Monday.

And, just like Suri, Naveed can look forward to meeting the likes of World Twenty20 winning captain Darren Sammy, South African off-spinner Johan Botha and New Zealand spinner James Franklin, who will be among his team-mates.

And with Shahid Afridi, Tymal Mills, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Jesse Ryder all set to feature, Naveed says he cannot wait to take to the field.

“I am extremely delighted to be playing in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz next month,” said the UBL player.

“I really enjoyed playing last year as it was a new challenge for me and  overall the experience was wonderful. I really cannot wait to play again because this competition has already attracted some big names.”

While he said it will be a learning experience, he just wants to prove his worth and show why he’s highly regarded in the UAE national set-up by doing something that he does best – taking wickets.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a tough tournament but my targets are to be as consistent as I can whether that’s on the training pitch or during matches. Every ball I bowl, I will go out there and give my best.

“That’s all I can do. It will be a great opportunity for me to learn from some of the great superstars around the world and it’s going to be hard to get wickets.

“Hopefully, my experience from last year will also help me play well in the conditions.”

Naveed went unsold in this year’s Pakistan Super League but he hopes this opportunity could be just the start of playing in elite competitions.

“I feel it’s a great platform for me to show my skills and announce myself around the world. Hopefully this can be the start of raising my profile and playing in some of the biggest competitions around the world like the PSL.”

One man who is thrilled with the news is interim AUE head coach Dougie Brown.

The former Warwickshire coach has only been in charge of the national team since the start of the month and is confident Naveed will impress. “I’m absolutely delighted,” he said. “I’ve got no doubt that Naveed can do really well. He’s got some pace and skills. He hits the ball very hard as a batter and I’m sure his bowling skills and pace and experience will see him put in some decent performances.”

He hopes more of his players can follow in the footsteps of Suri and Naveed.

“One of the challenges I’ve set the guys is that there are many T20 competitions around the world. There is no reason at all why any other players should not be featuring in these T20 competitions,” he said. “My challenge to the rest of the group is that I want more of them to be competing and it’s up to them to show what they need to do to play in these competitions.”