Three NSL players picked for UAE U19 qualifiers

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Jonathan Figy: NSL star.

Three players who represented their schools in the ADIB NSL Cricket in partnership with OSN have been selected in the UAE squad for the Under-19 Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament in Malaysia next month

Jonathan Figy (Abu Dhabi Indian School), Aryan Lakra (DPS Dubai) and Ansh Tandon (Gulf Asian Challengers) are among the 16 that will travel to the Far East after impressing Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) selectors during an inter-emirate tournament and a two-month training camp.

With more than 2,000 runs scored and 24 wickets taken in 36 games last season, ADIS captain Figy is delighted to have made the 16, having been overlooked in 2015.

“It’s a great feeling and I have been putting in a lot of hard effort in the camp,” said the all-rounder, who scored at least 50 in each of his six games en-route to finishing top run-scorer with 594 in last term’s Under-15 NSL.

“Training has been quite good and I feel over the last year, I’ve just grown as a player. The more matches I’ve played in, the more

experience I gained and I can’t wait to play for the UAE. The NSL is a great experience and it’s such an important tournament as it gave me a lot of exposure.”

All-rounder Lakra is the youngest in the camp at just 14, but has shown he is not afraid of competing against the big boys. He scored 115 runs and claimed 13 wickets altogether in the U-16 and U-19 inter-emirate tournaments.

“At 14, it feels great that my hard work has paid off and getting into the UAE U-19 team is awesome,” said Lakra. “This is the icing on the cake and will hopefully help me score more runs next season.”

Tandon also played in both age groups in the ECB event, scoring more than 100 runs. The trio will be captained by Yodhin Punja, who trained with the senior UAE team in the UK this month, with the ECB naming a well-balanced squad of pace and spin.

They face a stern test for the event, taking place from September 26 to October 8, having been drawn alongside Kuwait, Hong Kong, Thailand and Oman in Group B. The top two nations in the 10-team 50-over tournament will qualify for the knockout stages.

Waleed Bukhatir, ECB chief selector, is impressed by the talent in the squad. He said: “This will be a very challenging series of games, with all teams in our group evenly matched, (and) it is a very exciting time for these players to represent the UAE on the international stage at an integral qualifier on the calendar.”

The squad that will represent the UAE at the ICC U19 qualifying tournament is: 

Yodhin Punja (C) – Fast Bowler

Fahad Nawaz (VC) – Batsman/Right-arm offbreak

Sachin Jha (WK) – Batsman/Keeper

Salah Shakeel  – Right-arm offbreak/Batsman

Sushain Thapar – Batsman/Slow left-arm orthodox

Aryan Lakra – Batsman/ Slow left-arm orthodox

Mohd Ali Mirza – Batsman

Jonathan Figy – Batsman

Justin D’ Souza – Batsman

Ansh Tandon – Batsman

Karthik Meiyappan – Leg spinner

Krishna Lakhani – Fast Bowler/All Rounder

Shah Faisal – Fast Bowler

Ehtesham Siddique – Fast Bowler

Marlon Malcom – Fast Bowler

Rahul Bhatia – Left Arm Spinner

NSL Cricket season 3 will be returning in October. For more information or to register your school please contact [email protected] or phone +971 52 244 3906.

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Ocean Strikers reign supreme

Denzil Pinto 21/08/2016
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Organiser Tariq Butt (c) and Ocean Strikers’ captain Freddy Sidhwa (2nd l)

Ocean Strikers reigned supreme in the Pakistan Independence Day Cricket Cup, defeating Desert King Waterproofing by three wickets in a last-ball thriller.

In the seven-a-side tournament at the Ocean Fair Sports Club in Dubai, Desert King, batting first were all out for 54 in their five overs with Freddy Sidhwa finishing with figures of 1-10.

Despite a challenging total, Ocean Strikers had a tough time at the crease but still reached their target with Hussain Raza (16) and an unbeaten 14 from Shafaqat Ali seeing them home off the last ball.

There was even more reason to celebrate for Ocean Strikers, who enjoyed a clean sweep for the individual awards.

Ali was named best bowler of the tournament, while Zawar Hussain was given the top batsman accolade. Salman Randhawa was adjudged best player of the tournament.

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ECB: 'Decision on coach soon'

Denzil Pinto 19/08/2016
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In a limbo: Paul Franks (r)

Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) chief David East has revealed discussions over the next permanent UAE coach will resume in the next board meeting, likely to be next month.

Former England international Paul Franks, 37, was at the helm for the team’s tour to Scotland after being named by the ECB as interim head coach following Aaqib Javed’s departure in May.

But his six-week stint ended last Tuesday, having drawn the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match and two successive ODI defeats in the World Cricket League Championship.

Franks admitted he has not ruled out a possible return as permanent coach and while East was impressed by how the team fared in Scotland, he insists the ECB board will discuss the issue of Javed’s predecessor possibly next month once all board members have returned from their travels.

“It’s not an easy thing to do to come into the side like that and try to prepare it properly for a short tournament like that,” said East. “But I think from what we all saw, Paul did a very very good job.”

“That’s going to be a matter for the board to decide who they want to move forward with (on whether Franks could be the next permanent coach. It will be a board decision which will happen in due course.”

East, who confirmed the ECB received “dozens of applications” to become the next coach in May, added: “There will be another discussion with the board and always said it would be reviewed after the Scotland trip and those discussions will take place as soon as I can get the board together which probably won’t take place for the next few weeks as people are still travelling.

“We want to be sooner rather than later as we have to ensure that we move forward. It’s not going to be months, we’ll be looking to make an appointment as quickly as we can. A lot of travelling takes and hopefully we can take that call in September and see where we go from there.”

Among the players in the squad that travelled was Rohan Mustafa and the all-rounder feels Franks is the right man to take the UAE forward, should he be selected.

“He was with us before and working hard and in my point of view, we were unlucky on that tour,” said the 27-year-old. “He gave us an idea of how to play in English and rainy conditions. I think Paul Franks is a very good coach and he’s always willing to work hard just like Aaqib bhai. He’s very disciplined and said to us that we’ve very good technically and is very serious on improving all areas of the team.”

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