Fahad Al Hashmi admits he must seize his ‘golden opportunity’ and prove the UAE selectors that he’s worthy of a recall when he lines up in the Emirates Cricket Board’s (ECB) men’s T20 National League.
Al Hashmi, 35, last played for the national team during the 2015 World Cup when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on his right knee during his side’s 146-run defeat to South Africa in New Zealand.
But the pacer, who continues to play domestically, has been given a boost after being named in Dubai Cricket Council’s squad that will compete in the inaugural ECB competition which begins later this month.
The tournament, which will see domestic and UAE cricketers play for their respective Cricket Councils – Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ajman – is a chance for the ECB to identify potential players for the national team.
It’s a possible route back for the UAE and Al Hashmi, who was one of two Emiratis in the World Cup squad along with skipper Mohammad Tauriq, is hoping to remind the country’s governing body of his talent that won him 21 international caps.
“This is a golden chance for me and am grateful that the Emirates Cricket Board have launched this tournament as it’s an opportunity for me to impress,” he said. “I now have to prove myself to them that I can play at the highest level.”
“I get the opportunity to play with the current international UAE players and I really think it will be a good experience me. I have to thank Dubai Cricket Council for giving me this chance and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
“I really feel that I’m playing well and having been picking up wickets for my club Farooq CC. This ECB tournament is a big competition for me and I really want to go out there and show what I can do. It’s a chance I want to take.”
Al Hashmi admits he does miss playing international cricket but hasn’t conceded that his chances of a recall are over.
“I still have a hope of representing my country,” said Al Hashmi, who was a member of the UAE squad which competed at the Indoor World Cup in Dubai last September. “I can do all the things that I did with the ball when I last played for the UAE at the 2015 World Cup.
“I keep in touch with the UAE players and (head coach) Dougie Brown. The team has been playing well and competition for places is tough but I’ll do my best in all the games I play to try and make this recall happen.”
Dubai Cricket Council continued their dominance by clinching their third consecutive Under-16 UAE Cricket League title after defeating Ajman Cricket Council by 76 runs on Saturday.
Dubai went into the week-long competition as one of the favourites after winning the previous two editions, formerly known as ECB Inter-Emirate tournament, and they lived up to that tag with a convincing display at the ICC Academy.
They had to settle for 187-9 after Adithya Shetty top-scored with 31 in their 50 overs but Dubai defended their total following some impressive bowling performances. Shetty and Jash Jiyanant each took three wickets as Ajman batsmen were rattled to be all out for 111 in 41 overs.
Salman Farooq, coach of Dubai lauded his players for their fine efforts. “It was quite an impressive win for us and to retain the title for the third time is really special,” he said.
“It’s always good to unearth new talent and we really had to work hard to get this win. There were some strong sides and we really had to work hard.”
He added: “We had a great bunch of players and some who have been experienced members of the team who have played in previous editions of the tournament. We had new talented boys as well and took on the challenges really well.”
The tournament acts as a platform for the Emirates Cricket Board to identify potential players for their national team. And Farooq is confident a number of players will have caught the eye of the ECB selectors.
“We have a lot of good talent and even last year we had some players called up,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of boys will be noticed and hopefully can progress to the next stage.”
Bukhatir XI added another A Division Cup to their trophy cabinet after defeating One Stop Tourism to clinch the Gold Cup.
Chasing 198 in 25 overs after Mohammad Ikram scored an unbeaten 102 at The Sevens, Dubai, Bukhatir reached their target in the 22nd over after an impressive partnership from Adnan Mufti (42no) and Rizwan CP (54no).
With Zawar Fareed (34), Khalid Shah (33) and Chirag Suri (28) dismissed and with the score 124-3, Mufti and Rizwan came together with a vital unbeaten 76-run stand.
The result meant Bukhatir were celebrating another title success following their victory in Ajman earlier in the season and UAE international Mufti praised the team’s owner Khalaf Bukhatir for his support.
“It’s great to be part of the winning side,” said Mufti, who was part of the UAE squad that competed in the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.
“We all worked together as a team for this win. Almost all the team is under the age of 28 and this trophy would not have been possible without Khalaf Bukhatir who is a firm supporter of promoting young talent and giving them opportunities to play in domestic cricket in the UAE,” added the batsman, who is the oldest at 33-years-old.