Despite seeing their World Cup dreams dashed, UAE veteran Shaiman Anwar has no immediate plans of calling it quits and wants to carry on playing for at least another year in his 40s.
The UAE take on Afghanistan on Tuesday knowing they have nothing but pride to play for after their Scotland defeat on Thursday. That 73-run loss distinguished their slim hopes of reaching the 2019 showpiece in England but with ODI status secured until 2022, at 39, Anwar feels he still has plenty left in the tank for the national team.
“To be honest, I’m 39 and I still feel good about my ability to play,” said Anwar, who made his international debut way back in 2010.
“I’m thinking of playing for at least one more year. Then after that, I’ll take a call. It will all depend on how I’m playing and if my fitness is good. If that’s all right, then I can continue even playing for a number of years.
“It’s exciting times for the UAE cricket with ODI status sealed until 2022, so I want to be part of that and help the sport grow even further.”
Shaiman will be playing his 31st ODI on Tuesday against a team he and the UAE know fairly well. Afghanistan and the UAE have played consistently in all formats in recent years with their latest clash coming in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup in November.
Afghanistan were crowned champions following the 10-wicket triumph – their last four-day fixture before they move on to playing Tests from this year. Anwar scored 85 in the first innings and in the last six ODIs between the two nations, he has hit three consecutive half-centuries.
But Anwar comes into the game having struggled in the World Cup Qualifier with 64 being his highest score in his last six matches in Zimbabwe.
Yet he is confident he can rediscover his form going into the last two matches, beginning with Afghanistan.
“I’ve had some good innings against Afghanistan and I hope that continues,” added Anwar. “Afghanistan are always strong side and they will be playing to qualify for the World Cup. It’s going to be hard but I’ll do everything I can to score big.”
In the last two matches, the UAE’s top-order struggled with the bat and Anwar insists he has a responsibility of leading by example.
“As batters we need to finish the game. The coaching staff has been instructing us that in every match that we have a responsibility to give our best in batting. As a senior player, if I play well it’s a big boost for my team and my team-mates.”
Morgan led Kerala Kings to title glory in the inaugural competition last December which attracted six franchises. Bengal Tigers, Maratha Arabians, Pakhtoons, Punjabi Legends, Team Sri Lanka and Kerala were all part of the four-day event at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Following the success of the inaugural edition, two more teams have been added to the roster when the tournament returns to the Emirate this December.
Morgan says a bigger tournament can only be a good thing for players.
“I think demand of more teams underlines the growth of the tournament,” said the 31-year-old during the inauguration of the RNS Diagnostic and Imaging Centre, part of Mulk Healthcare Enterprises which is owned by Kerala Kings chief Dr Shafi Ul Mulk, on Monday.
“The success the tournament has shown last year through all of the feedback we had from the players and the public is something that is exciting. That’s a very good sign and points to a bright future for T10 cricket.”
Enough said. Enough done.— Kerala kings (@KeralaKingsT10) December 17, 2017
Champions 2017 👑 pic.twitter.com/IRW7OJkoPM
After joining his Karachi Kings’ team-mates last week, Morgan will travel back to the UK after the team’s Pakistan Super League Eliminator against Islamabad United on Sunday.
Three of the four remaining matches are set to be held in Lahore and Karachi this week and the England ODI and T20 captain has refused to travel to Pakistan, saying the decision is purely down to family reasons.
“I’m going home to see my family,” he said. “I haven’t been home since November and since I got drafted, that has always been the plan.”
He joins a number of key foreigners including Kevin Pietersen to not make the trip. However, he lauded the Pakistan Cricket Board’s efforts in bringing high-profile cricket back to Pakistan.
“Gradually more fixtures are being announced,” he said. “The West Indies have said that they will be playing three T20 matches, so gradually more and more cricket is being played there. I think if the preparation and everything goes well, then it will be fine.”
UAE captain Rohan Mustafa believes the fast bowlers must shoulder some responsibility for their 73-run defeat to Scotland in their World Cup Qualifier on Thursday.
It was a tough day for the UAE bowlers as Scotland reached an imposing total of 322-6 in their 50-overs in the Super Six clash at Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Matthew Cross led the way for the European side with 114 runs, his second ODI century.
In the end, the target proved to be too much for the UAE as they were all out for 249 despite the brave efforts of Muhammad Usman (80) and Ahmed Raza (50). Although their chances were slim, the result meant that the UAE’s hopes of reaching their second successive and third World Cup is over with two matches to play.
Mustafa stood out with the ball with four wickets, while spinner Imran Haider and medium-pacer Zahoor Khan shared one scalp each.
Fellow fast-bowler Mohammad Naveed was the most expensive out all the bowlers after going for 6-68 despite only bowling eight overs.
But Mustafa was critical of his bowlers, particularly the pacers, who were unable to chip in with wickets at a time when they really needed them.
“I think to be honest if I have to say that our fast bowlers didn’t bowl really well,” he said during his post-match press conference.
“I will give credit to Scotland but our bowlers didn’t do much on this type of wicket. As you saw our fast bowlers have not been taking much wickets apart from Papua New Guinea, so I think that’s the thing that has been disappointing.
“This kind of wicket was a very slow wicket and it was turning at the start of the day as well. It was not easy but the guys managed to get beyond the 250 mark. We gave away too many runs in the bowling to be honest and their batsmen played really well and took advantage.”
They will be aiming to get their first Super Six points on board when they take on hosts Zimbabwe and Afghanistan within the next week.
Mustafa says his team-mates can take a leaf of how Mohammad Usman and Ahmed Raza performed against Scotland. Usman and Raza put on a 105-run stand for the seventh wicket and the skipper added: “That’s the bright point. Even if you stay on a wicket, what those boys did was exceptional. They stayed at the wicket over a long time and scored the runs. We will play hard in the remaining games and hopefully take some points.”