Just one step away from representing the UAE at both Under-16 and U-19 levels this year, Ansh Tandon and Aryan Lakra both admit they would be hugely disappointed if they are not selected in the final squads.
Fifteen-year-oldsTandon and Lakra, are the only cricketers to find themselves in both age groups of the on-going training camp at ICC Academy, having impressed during the domestic season last term.
With a pool of more than 40 hopefuls, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) are set to announce their final 15-man squad next week for September’s U-16 ACC West Asia Championship participation in Qatar, while they will name their team for October’s U-19 Asia Cup qualifiers in Kuwait next month.
Both players made their international debuts last year at U-19 level, and while the chances of playing for the national team this year are greater than before, they are not taking anything for granted.
“The target is to get into both squads and it would feel really good and be a surreal moment,” said Tandon, who has scored 233 runs in A Division tournaments for Sharjah Cricket Club and ECB Blues.
“It’s a good challenge to push for places but it will be very tough for the selectors as everyone in both the camps are very good.
“I feel confident but not taking anything for granted for sure.”
Lakra echoed Tandon’s view. “I had played last year for the UAE and I would be a bit sad if I don’t get into both squads,” said all-rounder, Lakra.
“I have been practising very hard recently in the nets and gym and to be playing for the UAE U-16 and U-19 this year would be the cherry on the top for me.”
He added: “The camps have been going really well but we have noticed the standard level has gone up and the coaches are making us work to ensure we are ready if we are selected for the UAE teams.”