Youngster Fahad Nawaz thrilled by call-up to UAE senior team

Denzil Pinto 17/04/2018
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Fahad Nawaz, the Under-19 captain who led the UAE in the Asia Cup, has been named in the senior squad for the first qualifying stage of the 2020 World T20.

Nawaz, 18, was skipper of the national team that reached the Youth Asia Cup last November after winning all four matches in the Western Region Qualifiers.

He scored two half-centuries in that competition and having continued to impress in the domestic circuit, the Emirates Cricket Board selectors rewarded him with a place in the 14-man squad for the Asian Sub Regional Qualifier in Kuwait.

The batsman faces a tough task in breaking into the starting 11 but says the call-up will be a learning curve.

“I am very happy and thankful to have been called up for the senior team,” he said. “This is like a dream come true for me.

“I was more surprised about being called up and I really cannot explain in words my happiness  because that was my only goal in life and I am genuinely very happy.

“During the tournament, I want to keep challenging myself and learn how to adapt to different conditions, so this is another step towards that.

“It’s only going to put me in good stead and getting to understand how they play. It will be good for me to learn from the seniors.”

He added: “I’ve worked a lot on my batting and bowling skills and also my fitness. I have to thank Shahzad Altaf at Young Talent Cricket Academy for the great support.”

Head coach Dougie Brown says he’s been impressed by Nawaz and hinted more youngsters could follow in his footsteps for future matches and tournaments.

“Clearly he had a very good Under-19 Asia Cup and we know that he has been playing very well since he’s come back from there,” the 47-year-old said. “We think he’s a young talented player and with our next global tournament being the 2020 World Twenty, we see this tournament as a development opportunity for maybe a couple of players to get really valuable experience.”

The UAE will take on Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives and Saudi Arabia with the top three sides qualifying for the next stage of the tournament.

The national selectors have kept faith with the majority of the players from the World Cup Qualifiers with senior players Ahmed Raza and Shaiman Anwar rested for the tour.

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Fahad Al Hashmi hoping to impress for Dubai Cricket Council and earn UAE recall

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Fahad Al Hashmi last played for the UAE during the 2015 World Cup.

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.”

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Dubai Cricket Council win Under-16 ECB Cricket League

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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.”

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