Nothing left to achieve for former UAE captain Amjad Javed as he retires

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Former UAE captain Amjad Javed.

Former UAE captain Amjad Javed announced his retirement from international cricket at the age of 38, citing a lack of motivation and limited opportunities as reasons behind his decision.

Javed last played for the UAE in April 2017 and has decided to not push himself any further given there is no immediate target like qualification for a major tournament in front of the team. The all-rounder said it would anyhow be unfair to take up the spot of a younger player at this point.

“It is never easy when you have to call it a day. You have to decide at what time you need to retire. At the moment, the team is doing better than two years back. I can’t find a place in the team. Nothing motivates me to push myself and fight for that position,” Javed told Sport360.

“It would be unfair if they select me and if I can’t perform, I would have kept another player out of the team. That would not be justified. There are much better players right now.”

Javed said a few years back, the UAE had major targets like qualification for the World T20 and World Cup, which they did in 2014 and 2015. But now, chances for sides like the UAE to qualify for world events appear slim with the number of teams getting reduced.

“Age is a factor. I work as a cargo loadmaster with Emirates Airlines. With all that schedule, it doesn’t suit me now. The body needs rest. Back then, there was motivation for us. Qualifying for World Cup, World T20, we were pushing ourselves. But now, I can’t see that. We couldn’t qualify for the 2019 World Cup as they have reduced the number of teams. We couldn’t qualify for Asia Cup in September as well.”

Looking back, Javed said things changed for the better when former Pakistan seamer Aaqib Javed took over as UAE coach in 2012 and brought in a professional set-up. Thereafter, the UAE went on to qualify for the 2014 World T20 and 2015 World Cup while also gaining professional contracts from the Emirates Cricket Board.

“Professionalism came when Aaqib Javed came, this is just the continuation of what he started. It was very tough when Aaqib came in. He brought in fitness coaches and professionalism. I thank coach Aaqib and captain Khurram Khan for pushing me and motivating me. I have already achieved the goals I had set for myself as a UAE born player. I am quite happy with my career,” he added.

Javed said he was glad to have contributed to a pivotal moment in UAE cricket when he secured victory in the World Cup qualifier against Kenya in New Zealand in 2014 which paved the way for his team gaining ODI status.

“Captaining the country (in the 2016 Asia Cup) where you were born was a highlight for me. But the main highlight of my career was the 2014 World Cup qualifier we played against Kenya in New Zealand where I was the man of the match. We qualified for the World Cup and achieved ODI status. Everything started rolling after that.”

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Lewis hits blazing fifty as Windies end Bangladesh tour with T20 series win

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Evin Lewis hit eight sixes during his 89 against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Opener Evin Lewis blazed 89 off just 36 balls to set up West Indies‘ 50-run victory over Bangladesh and take the T20 series 2-1 in Mirpur.

The 26-year-old smashed eight sixes and six fours as the tourists raced to 122-2 off 9.1 overs but when he departed the run-rate subsided significantly with Nicolas Pooran (29) and Rovman Powell (19) the only players to make double figures after his dismissal.

Windies were bowled out in the final over for 190, well below what they would have expected at the halfway stage, but it still proved too much for Bangladesh.

Despite Liton Das, who was eventually out for 43 off 25 balls, accelerating the hosts to 65-1 in just the fifth over only 22 not out from number 10 Abu Hider added respectability to the score as they were dismissed for 140 in the 17th over.

The innings was not without controversy with play held up for eight minutes when West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite unsuccessfully contested a no-ball call after Das was caught in the fourth over as the call to review was made only after the players had seen a replay of the legitimate delivery on the big screen.

Despite the no-ball controversy, Brathwaite was pleased with the team’s efforts after losing the Test and ODI series.

“Very happy with our batting,” Brathwaite said. “You don’t always get that sort of a start. We wanted to be aggressive. As a bowling unit, we were not happy how we bowled in the second T20. But we regrouped and it was pleasing to see how the boys performed.”

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Young UAE cricketers make the most of Dav Whatmore's visit to Kricket's Spero

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Dav Whatmore (c) with Kricket's Spero CEO Reji Cherian (l) and coach Pious Joseph.

Young cricketers in the UAE, mainly from the Indian state of Kerala, made the most of a visit by renowned coach Dav Whatmore to the winter coaching camp of Kricket’s Spero in Dubai.

Whatmore, who coaches the Kerala state Ranji Trophy team, was in the UAE as part of Kricket’s Spero’s expert group of coaching staff that has been guiding cricket enthusiasts in the UAE, with a few going on to represent their home state Kerala at the professional level.

Kricket’s Spero – spearheaded by business consultant Reji Cherian – has been in operation for three years and has already given Kerala a few talented young cricketers. Their association with the Kerala Cricket Association has grown stronger with former Ranji Trophy players like PG Sunder and Fida Asghar part of Kricket’s Spero set-up.

Whatmore spent four days with the budding cricketers from December 16, with the camp at the Al Nasr Club, Oud Metha, running until the end of the month. And former Sri Lanka and Pakistan coach Whatmore was pleased with how far the set-up has come.

“I come to understand the crucial role Kricket’s Spero is playing to develop the cricketing skills of youngsters in this part of the world,” Whatmore said.

Varun Nayanar was spotted playing cricket in the UAE.

Varun Nayanar was spotted playing cricket in the UAE.

“The success of 16-year-old Varun Nayanar in the Indian domestic cricket and his chance to play in Kerala State’s U-19 is a strong testimony to the coaching skills of Kricket’s Spero.”

Nayanar was spotted by former Kerala captain Sony Cheruvathur – a coach at Kricket’s Spero – around three years ago and was asked to attend trials in Kerala. The youngster has gone from strength to strength and this month became the youngest Kerala player to score a double ton at the U19 level – making 209 against Saurashtra in the Cooch Behar Trophy.

And there are a few other such examples that highlight the work done by the academy.

“Apart from Varun, Aditya Prakash has also played for U-16 Kerala team, in addition to Bethel Jose and Vishnu Menon playing for the U-14 team. I am sure that this is the contribution of dedicated coaches like Sony Cheruvathur and Pious Joseph, among others,” added Whatmore.

On his part, CEO Cherian said learning the tricks of the trade from a renowned coach like Whatmore was a golden opportunity for aspiring cricketers.

“It was simply amazing to see a big name like Mr Whatmore conducting the camp, working with the kids and truly taking time to fine-tune their skills. Due to our association with the Kerala Cricket Association, we are able to get the services of Dav, whose achievements speak for itself,” Cherian said.

Kricket’s Spero conducts three coaching camps every year – a winter camp in December, spring camp in March and summer camp in July. The winter and spring camps are held in Dubai, while the summer camp is held in India.

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