Chirag Suri has a chance to make his first-class debut for the UAE after he was named in the squad for their tour against Namibia next month.
The 22-year-old batsman was announced in the final 14-man squad for their four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup (ICup) that begins on September 16.
The two nations will meet again at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek in two 50-over World Cricket League matches on September 16 and 19.
Suri keeps his place after being recalled to the squad for the triumphant 50-over series against the Netherlands in July but despite never playing an official four-day game, he looks forward to the challenge.
“It’s a great feeling to be in the UAE squad,” said Suri, who became the first UAE cricketer to be sold in the IPL auction when he was bought by Gujarat Lions this year.
“We have been working hard in Dubai in trying to work to conditions that we would face over there. I am happy that all my hard work is paying off and that the selectors and coaches are seeing that I’ve been performing well in domestic tournaments.”
Wicket-keeper Saqlain Haider has been recalled after missing the Netherlands tour.
In his last I-Cup outing, the 30-year-old duly delivered by smashing a century in Apri’s nine-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea in Abu Dhabi.
The team will be captained by Rohan Mustafa with Shaiman Anwar as his deputy.
The UAE are second bottom in the I-Cup standings and last in the World Cricket League but Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket spokesperson, believes the side are capable of delivering positive results.
“We have been greatly anticipating the I-Cup and WCL series against Namibia, and we are extremely confident the team will post strong results against the hosts,” he said.
“Participating and doing well, in these tournaments, is vitally important in continuing our climb up the ICC rankings ladder.”
To ensure they have the best preparation for their matches, the UAE will fly out on September 3 for a 12-day camp. They will spend time at South Africa High Performance Centre (University of Pretoria) for six days, before moving to Windhoek.
“Throughout the summer the team, and the coaching staff, have been working very hard to take their skills and fitness to the next level,” said Abbas. “This preparation camp will be integral in building on these efforts, and strengthen an already tight-knit competitive team.”
Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara and Shahid Afridi are all set to play in a Ten Cricket League (T10) later this year in the UAE.
According to PTI, these four star-studded names will participate in the 10-over-a-side tournament, between December 21-24 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
While the league’s auction is set to take place in the UAE soon, participating teams are expected to include: Team Punjabis, Team Pakhtoons, Team Sindhis, Team Banglas, Team Lankans, Team Keralites and Team Maratha.
Reports have revealed that Pakistan legend Afridi, who scored a 42-ball hundred for Hampshire in their Twenty20 Blast quarter-final victory against Derbyshire on Tuesday night, will lead the Pakhtoons.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) officials are expected to travel to the UAE next week to discuss finalising Sharjah Cricket Stadium as the venue of their first-ever Test match, Sport360° understands.
Afghanistan, along with Ireland, were confirmed as Full Members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) during a board meeting in June and the Asian side hope to play Zimbabwe in their maiden five-day fixture as part of a series later this year.
Although Afghanistan have played their home games in Greater Noida in India since 2016, Sharjah has been identified as the preferred option due to the climate.
Sport360° understands a meeting with UAE cricket officials was postponed but are likely to hold talks again as early as next week to discuss the matter.
If a deal is agreed it would mean Afghanistan returning to Sharjah – a venue they called home between 2010-16. During that period, Afghanistan won 10 of their 15 ODIs and six of nine T20 internationals as they became a dominant Associate force in the limited-overs formats.
Besides Sharjah, Afghanistan have plenty of experience of playing in other venues in this country. They registered a 3-0 series whitewash over the UAE at the ICC Academy in December before triumphing at the inaugural Desert T20, which was held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the start of the year.
ACB will have to appoint a new head coach after deciding not to renew Lalchand Rajput’s contract.