Emirati cricketers to the fore at ICC Academy in new ECB programme

Denzil Pinto 19:13 26/04/2017
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The cricketers in training.

Former UAE internationals Fahad Al Hashmi, Salman Farooq and Qais Farooq, as well as Ali Mohammed Maksi, have been put through their paces in a series of training and fitness sessions as part of a new ECB initiative aimed to support the development of Emirati players.

The ECB already have an initiative in place in Al Ain with assistant coach Shahzada Saleem, who speaks Arabic, responsible for introducing the game to Emirati school children in the Garden City.

And the country’s governing body says the latest initiative is an addition to that.

“Yes this is a follow-up to that and we have coaches in place around the country and hopefully this can attract more Emiratis to come forward and take up cricket,” said Mazhar Khan, ECB administrator.

“We want to develop our Emirati programme and increase the numbers in this country.

“We have a great bunch of Emirati cricketers who have represented the UAE national team and continue to play domestic which is still very good.

“We want to develop them and the idea is to keep them fit and be involved in our cricketing activities whether it’s as a player or in a coaching role.”

UAE interim head coach Dougie Brown and Peter Kelly, sports science lead at ICC Academy and strength and conditioning coach of the national team, are just two to have overseen classes and Al Hashmi says it’s a great opportunity to enhance his knowledge.

“We were invited by the ECB and ICC Academy for this programme and it’s been really interesting so far,” said the 34-year-old pacer, who last played for the UAE at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“Although we are all playing domestic cricket, the ECB want us to continue playing and improve our knowledge and fitness with this new initiative. It’s only been three days so far but I’m definitely
enjoying it.”

This month, the Farooqs and Al Hashmi were roped in as consultants for Dubai Cricket Council team in their triumphant Under-16 Inter-Emirate tournament and Al Hashmi wants to pursue coaching if he doesn’t play for the UAE again.

“I still have hope that I can play for the UAE but if I don’t, I want to give something back because they have done a lot for me,” said Al Hashmi.

“This is a great initiative by the ECB and ICC Academy and whatever skills and knowledge I gain from this will be helpful as I can pass this on to others.”

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