Seven Seas Strikers serve up a treat

Denzil Pinto 17/06/2014
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All smiles: The Seven Seas Strikers team won the Eat and Treat Cup 2014.

Half-centuries from Amjid Gujar and Waqas Ahmed helped Seven Seas Strikers lift the fourth Eat and Treat Cup 2014 with a three-wicket victory over Brooks CC.

Electing to bat first at Seven Seas Sports Club in Dubai, Brooks CC set a target of 206 losing just four wickets in their allotted 20 overs.

Shakor Khan top scored with a brilliant 96, while Farrukh Qazmi and Khuram Saeed chipped in with 51 and an unbeaten 22 respectively.

Amjad Gujjer took two wickets; while Shafaqat Ali took one.

In a thrilling chase, Seven Seas Strikers reached 206 for the loss of seven wickets.

Gujjer scored a rapid unbeaten 55 off 22 balls while Waqas Ahmed scored 52. Salman Randawa (40) and Gulam Shabir (26) kept the scoreboard ticking.

Khuram Saeed and Abiel Chippa snared two wickets each.

The cricket tournament was organised by Seven Seas Sports Club, with the backing of Dubai Cricket Council.

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Javed pleased by UAE's next generation

Denzil Pinto 17/06/2014
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Aiming high: Huzaifah Khan during the selection trials at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

More than 1,000 budding cricketers descended on ICC Academy in Dubai last week with the aim of achieving one goal – to play for the UAE under-16 and under-19 teams.

With the under-16 team set to play in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) tournament in Qatar in October, and the under-19 side in Kuwait in November, coach Aaqib Javed oversaw proceedings at the trials which lasted five days.

And with a squad limit of only 20 per age group, the young cricketers had to be at their very best during the two hour sessions to have any chance of being selected for the next round that concluded on Monday. 

After being put through their paces at the state-of-the-art indoor facility, some boys’ dreams ended while others still have hope when Javed names his final squads by the end of next week.

For one promising cricketer – Huzaifah Khan – his dream is still alive. The 13-year-old is a student at Zayed Cricket Academy in Abu Dhabi, which has grown to become one of the top cricketing establishments in the UAE.

Earlier this year, all-rounder Khan was part of the under-14 and under-16 teams which claimed a inter-school trophy double for Merryland International School.

And having been at the academy for five years, Khan felt he was ready for the opportunity.

He said: “My coaches said I was ready and I went there determined to give it my best shot. I remember entering the ICC Academy and seeing so many boys for the trials. I prepared myself thinking that I would have to bowl and bat to get selected but it wasn’t the case.

“There was a particular net for fast bowlers and spinners and I played in both, with the other boys bowling. 

“After my batting, I was selected for the next round,” said Khan. “I wanted to bowl but after seeing my batting that was enough for them to see potential in me.”

Describing his emotions when he made it through the next round, Khan said: “I believed in myself that I could do it. I know my capabilities and I trusted in myself and I was pleased that I did well.”

Among the players that Javed must select in the under-16 team are at least five Emiratis due to a change of ACC rules.

“I have been in contact with a guy who knows the cricket in Al Ain. We will work together to have them included otherwise we cannot compete," added Javed. 

 “The interest was good. Within five days we had more than 1,000 players and it is a development. You want more and more people to engage in cricket and it’s a good sign.”

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Cricketer profile: Haroon Iftikha

Denzil Pinto 10/06/2014
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With cricket booming across the UAE, Sport360° decided to sit down each week with one local cricketer to find out more about the players that make up the sport in the emirates.

This week we spoke to AD Gymkhana player Haroon Iftikhar. 

Haroon Iftikhar

AD Gymkhana

Age: 32

Position: Batsman

Born: Sialkot, Pakistan

First match you watched: Pakistan v New Zealand at the 1992 World Cup.

Favourite format: 50-overs because that is a game that requires a lot of consistency from the players.

Best cricket match you watched: South Africa v Australia ODI in Johannesburg in 2006.

Favourite player growing up: Imran Khan. I liked every aspect of him as a player. He was a leader, had a great character and the players believed in him.

First piece of cricket equipment you bought or given: A bat from my dad in 1996.

One stadium you would like to visit: The WACA (Perth). The design is different to other venues and has a lot of history.

Best player at the moment: AB de Villiers – he can adapt his batting to ODIs, T20s and Tests and always entertains the crowd and is consistent.

Favourite sporting moment: When Pete Sampras won the 2000 Wimbledon title. He beat Rafter for his last title there and it was a tight match.

Other sports you play: Football, swimming and table tennis. 

Favourite meal: BBQ grilled chicken. 

Favourite thing about playing cricket in the UAE: We get to play games against sides from all around the UAE, which helps us improve and learn as a team.

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