UAE bowlers Imran Haider and Qadeer Ahmed got another opportunity to be part of a training session with a Test-playing nation after the pair were invited to train with Pakistan’s ODI squad.
Spinner Haider, 29, and pacer Ahmed, 31, were both recommended by UAE head coach Dougie Brown after Pakistan batting coach Grant Flower wanted his batsmen to be tested by high quality bowlers.
Since Sunday, the Pakistan-born players have been bowling to the likes of Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez with the Champions Trophy winners getting their ODI series underway in Dubai on Friday against Sri Lanka.
The pair are no strangers to rubbing shoulders with the international’s elite. Just last year, they were selected to be part of Australia’s training sessions during their camp in Dubai prior to the Baggy Green Test series against India.
For Haider, not only was it a dream come true to bowl against his native side but it was also a reunion with one or two of the players.
“Most of the players know me and met me after a long time,” he said. “I played with Ahmed Shehzad and Shoaib Malik during may days when I was playing in Pakistan during domestic games and it was nice to see them. I was even more happy that I was bowling against them in the nets.
“I’ve really wanted to play an international match against Pakistan but I’ve not had that opportunity. Hopefully we can have a chance to do that in the future. It was a good experience and these couple of days has given me a lot of confidence.”
For Ahmed, he got to pick the brains of Pakistan’s bowling coach Azhar Mahmood and even though it was just a nets session, he was eager to prove his potential.
“I had been struggling with my run-up against Namibia (in the last tour) and was working on that with Azhar Bhai. He gave me advice on my run-up and spent around 30 minutes with me on how to improve my bowling which was very useful,” he said.
“When Test playing nations are here, it’s always a good opportunity. It might be a little bit hard to get their wickets in nets because they are so good but I wanted to get their wickets even though it was a training session.”