Khurram Khan: UAE match at the MCG is a dream come true

Joy Chakravarty 07:57 11/02/2015
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Over the moon: Khurram Khan is excited to finally get the opportunity of playing in the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia in a warm-up match.

His job with Emirates has taken Khurram Khan to Melbourne more than a dozen times, but there is one thing the UAE vice-captain hasn’t done when in the capital of Victo­ria. Despite strong temptation, he has never set foot at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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All that is going to change today as the UAE take on hosts Australia in a warm-up match ahead of the World Cup. The 43-year-old Khan is the oldest player in the tourna­ment, which begin on February 14.

“It’s a huge moment for me," he said.

“For my work commitments, I used to come to Melbourne quite a lot. I used to stay across the road here and I’ve seen the MCG many times. But I’ve never walked into the stadium because I’ve always wanted to play here. I wanted to get in there as a cricketer.

“It will be the first time I will be walking into the stadium. Thank God, tomorrow my dream will be fulfilled.”

Khan admits the whole team are looking forward to the experience of taking on the No.1 ODI team in the world, and a good performance against Australia, who will have Michael Clarke making a return to the side, would be the perfect psychological boost ahead of their opening match on February 19 against Zimbabwe in Nelson.

“This is a wonderful way to start our campaign. We have worked really hard on our game and to start the tournament playing against the best team in the world… I think there is no better way for us to start than this.”

Khan himself has been in fantas­tic form with the bat, exemplified by a superb 66 against Central Dis­tricts Selections XI last week dur­ing another warm-up match in New Zealand.

Khan scored 334 runs at 83.50 with a strike rate of 85.86 in six ODIs last year, and his unbeaten 132 against Afghanistan in Decem­ber not only made him the first-ever player from UAE to score a century in ODIs, but also the oldest ODI centurion ever.

“I think the last couple of years have been the best in my life since I have been playing cricket,” added Khan.

“I am having the best time of my life, to be honest.”

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