UAE's Natasha Michael 'heartbroken' to miss out on World Twenty20 Qualifier due to injury

Denzil Pinto 20:24 19/05/2018
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Injured: Natasha Michael

Natasha Michael says it’s ‘heartbreaking’ that she will not be able to play a part in the UAE’s attempts to qualify for the 2018 Women’s World Twenty20 due to a back injury.

Michael, 23, was left out of the 14-person squad on Thursday that will compete in the Global Qualifier tournament in Netherlands in July with the all-rounder deciding not to risk inflicting more pain on a long-term injury.

She first suffered the injury on her back during the UAE’s participation in the international Women’s Tournament back in December 2016 and although she was part of the squad in November’s Asia Qualifiers that booked their place in July’s tournament, the struggles continued with Michael playing her last game in December.

While she has not given herself a timeframe on her return, Michael insists it was a difficult decision to temporarily stop playing cricket.

“The injury happened during the UAE international Women’s Cup and my spikes got caught in the ground and I fell on the floor and it started off from there,” said Michael, who became the first-ever UAE captain aged 14 in 2007.

“It has been a recurring thing and has been coming on and off. In Thailand, it was fine but there was slight pain here and there. I started strengthening and did all kinds of physio but I’m just not 100 per cent. If I keep playing, it’s going to keep on coming back so I had to take a difficult decision on just being fully fit. It could be a lifetime thing if I don’t look after it now.”

She added: “It’s heartbreaking. It’s the biggest tournament that UAE will get for a while unless the girls prove everyone wrong and do well. This is one benchmark that we have been dreaming of for the past 10 years. It is a bit disheartening but I’m happy with the squad that is going and hopefully they can go on in the next stage.

“I don’t think it’s fair to be in the squad even though I have a history in the team. Someone who is fit, deserves to be there. Once I’m fully fit, I will come back to it.”

The UAE have been drawn alongside Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Netherlands in the eight-team tournament in July with two qualifying spots available for the showpiece event in West Indies in November.

With such an important event, Michael hopes the Emirates Cricket Board will appoint a physio for the tournament that can assist the players.

“Unfortunately we don’t have a physio provided and that’s another problem,” she said. “I hope the girls get a physio this time as it’s a very big tournament and that is one issue that needs to be addressed.”

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