With UAE pacer Mohammad Naveed on the brink of signing for Nepal’s T20 Everest Premier League, it will be another box ticked off on his list of limited-overs competitions he’s played in.
The 31-year-old isn’t short of experience when it comes to T20 (and even T10) cricket. We look back at the other limited-over competitions he has played in so far.
2016 and 2017: Hong Kong T20 Blitz
The inaugural edition in 2016 saw Naveed selected for his first-ever overseas T20 tournament. Representing Hung Hom JD Jaguars, he only played twice with just one wicket to his name. Despite that, he returned again for the second edition 12 months later and came away with some cherished memories.
Playing for Hung Hom JD Jaguars again, Naveed shared the same dressing room as two-time World Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy. The West Indian was among the biggest names competing alongside ex-Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara. That didn’t stop him faring better with the ball, taking five wickets in total including one of former England international Ian Bell.
“He’s won the Ashes and was one of England’s best batsmen. It’s right up there among the best wickets of my career,” Naveed said at the time.
December 2017: T10 League, Sharjah
Naveed got a chance to showcase his skills in front of his home fans in the first-ever T10 tournament. He was one of nine current UAE internationals to be given an opportunity with the pacer snapped up by Bengal Tigers.
Just like the rest of the players, which included the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Amir and Eoin Morgan, Naveed was stepping into unknown territory considering it was the first time 10-over cricket was played.
But he didn’t disappoint, taking three wickets in three matches including the prized one of Shahid Afridi.
June 2018: Global T20 Canada
Naveed had company when he flew to Canada as Ahmed Raza, Rohan Mustafa and Shaiman Anwar were the four UAE internationals to be drafted in the inaugural edition. The quartet nearly missed the start of the tournament due to visa issues but just hours after arriving, Naveed was on the field for his Toronto Nationals debut. He didn’t pick up a wicket that time and had to wait until his third game to claim the scalps of South Africa’s David Miller and West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo.
UAE’s Mohammad Naveed is close to signing a deal to play in Nepal’s T20 Everest Premier League later this year.
The 31-year-old is set to sign a contract with Bhairahawa Gladiators, with an official announcement expected soon.
It will be the first time Naveed will be playing in Nepal and the pacer is looking forward to testing himself in the T20 competition.
“I am very close to signing the contract and it’s a tournament that I am looking forward to playing in. The Everest Premier League is a very good league which is growing and is attracting top internationals,” Naveed told Sport360.
Naveed will be playing in his second T20 overseas tournament in 2018 after playing three games for Toronto Nationals in June’s Global T20 Canada.
As well as that competition, Naveed also participated in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz where World T20 winner Darren Sammy was among this team-mates at Hung Hom JD Jaguars.
“It is great that I have been given another chance to play in a T20 league as I have played in the Global T20 Canada and Hong Kong Blitz tournaments. I have been playing very well in the last 18 months so that gives me confidence of doing well,” he said.
He is set to be the second UAE international to play in the event after Rohan Mustafa signed up for Kathmandu Kings XI in July.
The two were part of Toronto Nationals’ side in Canada in June and Naveed says it’s great that they will be part of another overseas T20 tournament.
“I am very happy that Rohan has signed up for the tournament as well because it shows that there is a lot of talent in the UAE national team,” he added.
“It’s a tournament that I can’t wait to play in and it’s one that I really want to do well in.”
This year’s Everest Premier League is likely to be held in late November with Naveed revealing he would have to miss “two or three” games if he is selected in the T10 League in Sharjah.
Naveed was part of the Bengal Tigers squad in last year’s edition and hopes to don the same jersey in the 2018 edition.
“I have spoken to the team management that I am very interested in playing for them,” he said. “They have a strong team and really enjoyed playing for them last year.”
UAE’s Rameez Shahzad believes he’s a better batsman now than he was in May when he flew out to England for a short-term club spell.
The 30-year-old played 25 matches in the space of four months for Philadelphia Cricket Club as he tested himself against English opposition in the Durham Cricket League.
Shahzad is a key member of the national team, scoring more than 800 international runs, so it was no surprise he let the bat do the talking in style for Philadelphia.
He made an instant impact by scoring a half-century on his debut and by the time he left for Dubai earlier this month, Shahzad had nine fifties and one century to his name. He could have added to that tally but had to return to the UAE to prepare for the Asia Cup qualifiers in Malaysia at the end of this month.
Yet, the fact that he impressed in the north east of England is no shock. He spent time in the UK earlier in his career when he studied in the region playing for Sunderland and South Shields in the Premier League.
And Shahzad believes the time at the crease has helped him develop his all-round game which he can start putting to practice for the UAE in Kuala Lumpur.
“It was an amazing experience for me as a cricketer,” said Shahzad. “In England, the conditions are very difficult because the weather changes constantly and is very unpredictable. It’s quite rare to find conditions that are half decent for batsmen. With so much grass and the ball swinging in all different directions, you have to be focused.
“I think the one thing I have learnt is that you can’t switch off. When you’re batting on a perfect track there are times where you can switch off and just keep going. But in England, that is not the case. Even if you score a hundred, even if you do one bad shot, you will get out. You really have to grasp the situation and be awake in all the innings.”
He added: “My footwork has also improved and that helps me get more runs for the team which will be good for my development and the UAE national team.”
Shahzad said he is always open to returning to Philadelphia for another stint after praising their hospitality during his stay.
“I would love to go back and play for them again,” he said. “I really enjoyed myself there and they are a great bunch of lads with whom I enjoyed playing cricket with every week.”