UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir is relishing the opportunity of facing Australia on Wednesday and insists victory over the co-hosts or Afghanistan in their final warm-up games will be a perfect boost for the team ahead of the World Cup.
– PLAY:World Cup Stick Cricket NOW
The UAE head into this week’s warm-up games full of confidence having beaten New Zealand’s Central Districts by six wickets on Thursday, and winning the ODI series 3-1 against Afghanistan earlier in November.
Given that Australia will be strong favourites when they meet in UAE’s first official warm-up match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Tauqir believes his players won’t be daunted by taking on the big boys.
“We are very positive now that we are in Australia,” said the 43-year-old yesterday, speaking in a press conference in Melbourne yesterday.
“We will be rubbing shoulders with all these big boys and it will definitely help us enhance our exposure. If we can get one more win before we start the tournament it will be definitely helpful.”
He added: “We’ve been practising and training hard over the last six months and we are looking forward to play Australia at the MCG.
“All the boys are very excited and confident and playing at the MCG will make our dreams come true for all of us.”
The Australia match will be the first official warm-up for Tauqir as captain, since replacing Khurram Khan last month.
With the latter now vice-captain, Tauqir is looking forward to leading his side out for the matches in Australia and New Zealand.
“I’m honoured to be captain of this team. It’s a privilege to be leading a country in a World Cup, and it gives me a lot of sense of pride and motivation,” he said.
After their final warm-up encounter against Afghanistan on Friday, the UAE will begin their first World Cup campaign since 1996 with matches against Zimbabwe on February 19 in Nelson, followed by Ireland in Brisbane.
And the off-spinner stressed the importance of getting off to a good start.
He said: “We are looking to do well in these two games.
“We have played a couple of warm-up games in New Zealand and it definitely gave us a good exposure of the conditions. I would like us to start on a good note and make an impact.
“We’ll play every game well and we’re looking to have at least one or two wins from this tournament.”
While cricket is overshadowed by football in the UAE, the Emirati captain is confident the team, which includes Indian and Pakistani nationalities, won’t be short of home support.
“We’re very lucky that we’re a team that have a few nationalities so it’s a very diversified culture back home, and yes, we will have a lot of support back home in the UAE.”
Know more about Sport360 Application