Saqlain Haider is looking forward to testing himself against international opposition again after admitting he was left hurt having been overlooked for last month’s Netherlands series.
The 30-year-old wicket-keeper/ batsman has been named in the 14-man squad for the Namibia tour later this month.
The UAE will face the African side in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup in Windhoek next Saturday, as well as two 50-over matches in the World Cricket League on September 21 and 23.
It marks a return to the national team after Haider was not part of the travelling party which won the 50-over series 2-1 against the Dutch in July. Although he was pleased with the result, he was left frustra-ted he could play no part in Amsterdam and has now vowed to deliver his best against Namibia.
“I feel so happy to be back in the squad for this Namibia tour,” said Haider, who was part of the Asia Cup and 2015 World Cup squads.
“I felt very upset when I was not picked in the squad for the Netherlands tour but my family and friends give me a great support during that time. They pushed me to work more harder in training.”
The last time he represented the UAE, he scored a brilliant century as the team beat Papua New Guinea by nine wickets in their last I-Cup outing in April, in Abu Dhabi.
That feat was more remarkable considering he was studying for an MBA as well as working full-time.
It’s a role he has to continue to juggle with today, but he insists that’s no reason why he can’t replicate his success.
He said: “Scoring that century was one of the best moments of my life and it was tough because I was studying and working also, while also having to train. That gives me confidence and I’m really confident I can perform well on this tour.”
Head coach Dougie Brown has been impressed with Haider’s efforts and has hinted he could well be behind the stumps in the I-Cup match next Saturday.
“He’s been absolutely great,” said the 47-year-old. “He works very quietly and is very professional.
“The way he batted against PNG in that four-day game was just outstanding. It’s still early days but the thinking is that he might take the gloves in the four-day game and Shabbir takes the one-day games. If there’s any injury, both are capable batsmen. It’s exciting that there’s healthy competition for places.”