Emirati cricketers Obaid and Omar have spoken of their aspirations of their love for the game and wanting to follow in the footsteps of their father Mohammed Tauqir by representing the UAE national team one day.
Obaid, 13, and Omar, 8, have been enhancing their knowledge and skills at Desert Cubs Cricket Academy for six months now under the guidance of head coach Presley Polonowita, a former Sri Lankan cricketer himself.
Mohammed donned the national jersey for more than decade and captained the UAE team in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. And having seen their father rub shoulders with the world’s elite on television, both Obaid and Omar want to create memories of their own.
“I love playing cricket,” said Obaid, a fast-bowling all-rounder.
“I’ve been playing since I was four years old. My grandfather took me to the park and we started playing. I started enjoying cricket because it was a family thing. Now I want to be like my dad, and captain the UAE team one day and make my breakthrough in the Under-19 teams.
“There is an athletics coach at Desert Cubs who helps with fitness which is a key part of cricket.”
His younger sibling, Omar, has too taken a lot of interest in cricket and while there’s still a lot of time for him to develop, at just eight-years-old, it’s a sport that he simply adores. “The best thing I like about cricket is hitting the ball. It’s something I love and it feels nice,” he said.
Mohammed has already seen signs of improvement from both his sons and is confident they will continue to excel.
“I’m really happy with the whole set up at Desert Cubs,” said the 45-year-old spinner, who is a national selector for the ECB.
“It has been very helpful in the shaping up of my children. They have improved their cricket and their overall fitness.
“I would love to see my children represent UAE. At the same time it has to be their commitment also. It will also be good if other Emirati youngsters also take up the game.”
Their sister Ayesha, who is pursuing athletics at Desert Cubs, also believes her brothers can reach their goal. “They can do it and have talent, if they work hard and concentrate on fitness.”
Polonowita hopes this can now be the start of more Emirati children taking up the sport.
“If we think of the future of cricket in the UAE, it has to be through locals. That’s why through Desert Cubs I’m trying to encourage UAE nationals to come here and get trained and represent their own country,” he said.