Emirati Obaid Tauqir's selection for Asia tournament a milestone for UAE cricket

Sport360 staff 13:37 13/10/2019
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The Emirates Cricket Board has officially announced the team that will represent the UAE at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Under-16 Western Region tournament.

In showing the Emirates Cricket Board’s unwavering commitment to developing local talent, Emirati U16 middle-order batsman and spin-bowler, Obaid Tauqir, has been selected for the team.

Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket Board member and spokesperson, said: “We are very excited and proud to select Obaid and provide him with this opportunity. It remains a mandate of the board to grow our Emirati youth cricketers into UAE representative players who will stand on the domestic, regional and international stage.

“We are confident he will receive a valuable and rewarding experience through his competing at the ACC U16 tournament, and playing alongside experienced and talented players.”

With a strong number of Emirati youths currently being introduced to the sport through Emirates Cricket’s Pinsent Masons Emirati Development Programme (EDP), which is conducted at various local schools across the UAE, the selection of Tauqir will no doubt be noticed and provide these youths with a strong Emirati role model.

Tauqir will also relish in the depth and experience of his fellow team-mates, especially under the captaincy and guidance of U16 domestic and regional stalwart-player and leader Adithya Shetty.

Mohamed Tauqir, UAE national teams’ selector and former UAE men’s captain who led them at the 2015 Cricket World Cup 2015, added: “This is a great milestone for Emirates Cricket, and one we thank the board for.

“Obaid has been working very hard on his game over the last three years; with his local academy (Desert Cricket Cubs Academy – Sharjah), actively involved in school-led tournaments, as well as exposed to ECB’s various age-group competitions.

“Obaid’s coaches at his school (Victoria International School – Sharjah) and his academy have been very supportive and have recognised his potential. As an Emirati, this is an outstanding opportunity for him to represent his country and embrace the chance to enhance his cricketing skills.”

To be played in a 35-overs-a-side format, hosted in Oman, the tournament will commence on Monday, October 21, and continue through to October 29. The UAE have been drawn into Pool A alongside Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran with Pool B showcasing Qatar, the Maldives, Kuwait and hosts Oman.

UAE squad:

Adithya Shetty (C), Soorya Sathish, Kai Smith, Chris Sequeira, Muhammad Babar, Rudra Mahadev, Aayan Khan, Harshit Seth, Ali Naseer, Jash Giyanani, Muhammad Zuhaib, Rishit Sharma, Annant Bhargava, Obaid Tauqir

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Kings' Cricket Academy start with a bang in ECB league as masterclass with Saqlain Mushtaq awaits

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The U19 Kings' Cricket Academy squad.

The past weekend marked the start of the annual Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) National Academies League, with as many as 22 different academies set to battle it out for the coveted honour over the course of the next six months.

As the popularity of the sport continues to skyrocket in the UAE, it is the various academies that have mushroomed up across the country which are playing a pivotal role in developing the future stars of tomorrow.

The Kings’ Cricket Academy in Al Barsha, Dubai, is one such name which has been leading the way towards that goal and its talented pool of players are more than ready to put on a big show once again if their pre-season preparations and start to the league are anything to go by.

Led by a superb unbeaten fifty from captain Hamad Arshad, the U19 developmental squad started the league in style with a thumping seven-wicket win over Al Ain Cricket Club. Earlier, the squad had warmed up for the league with an equally convincing pre-season win over the touring Himalaya Cricket Academy from Nepal. Once again, it was skipper Hamad who led from the front with an excellent unbeaten ton.

The extensive run out against what was a talented Nepalese outfit, as well as the win in the season opener, augurs well for the team’s chances in the ECB league even though results are mostly secondary for the academy’s ambitions.

Skipper Hamar Arshad's unbeaten 54 led the way against Al Ain Academy.

Skipper Hamad Arshad’s unbeaten 54 led the way against Al Ain.

Committed to opening up future professional pathways for the talented kids in its roster, the Kings’ academy is leaving no stone unturned to bridge the gap between grassroots cricket and potentially international cricket.

“We strive to provide a system to the kids in which they can hone their all-round skills with an equal emphasis on batting, bowling and more importantly, fielding,” coach Ash Mohammed said.

“There is no reason why our boys cannot aspire to represent the UAE professionally in the future.

“The realms of possibilities are endless and we believe our kids are good enough to aim to play cricket professionally in even England, India and Australia.”

Continued participation in the ever-expanding ECB league is part of that process for the academy with the professionally run set-up providing the players with a chance to constantly push themselves to greater heights.

Having come into existence four years ago, the 2019/20 National Academies League calendar is set to be its biggest one so far.

“The National Academy League sees 472 matches played over six months of competition. The ECB is proud to partner with academies in delivering this event and it gives the future stars of UAE cricket a platform to shine,” ECB national development manager Andrew Russell explained.

The fruits of the various academies and the ECB are already being picked with the UAE U19 squad qualifying for next year’s ICC World Cup in South Africa for the first time on merit.

While the chance to represent UAE in the future is incentive enough for any aspiring youngster in the Kings’ academy, they will soon get an opportunity to learn from one of the most highly-sought coaches on the international circuit.

Former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq (l).

Former Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq (l).

Former Pakistan ace and current England spin consultant Saqlain Mushtaq is set to arrive at the academy in the coming week to deliver a masterclass, and the young kids could not have asked for a better mentor.

Saqlain’s prowess with the ball is legendary while the 42-year-old’s impressive coaching pedigree has seen him serve stints with the Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh national teams apart from his current commitments with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Learning from a man whose already stellar coaching resume has been bolstered recently by an ICC World Cup triumph can only be a good thing for aspiring youngsters from the academy, and is just one of many steps the King’ Academy is undertaking to convert their lofty dreams into reality.

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ECB announces friendly matches for UAE men's team ahead of 2020 T20 World Cup qualifiers

Sport360 staff 13:49 03/10/2019
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UAE are getting ready. Image credit - Emirates Cricket Board.

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a series of fixtures for the UAE men’s cricket team which will form a part of their wider development calendar for 2019.

The six T20 fixtures will be held between October 6 to 10 in Dubai and Sharjah and will see the UAE Men’s first team as well as an UAE second XI lock horns against the likes of Bermuda, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Namibia and Nigeria.

The six total matches will help UAE side prepare for the upcoming 2020 T20 World Cup qualifiers which is set to begin in Abu Dhabi on October 18.

The upcoming T20 clashes will not be recognised as warm-up T20 games for the qualifiers by the ICC with the official warm-up clashes set to get underway on October 13.

The 2020 T20 World Cup qualifiers will see as many as 14 teams including hosts UAE, Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands battle it out in the two-week long tournament. The teams have been divided into two groups containing seven sides apiece with UAE drawn alongside Ireland and Hong Kong in Group B.

The top finishers from both groups will secure direct qualification to the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia while also advancing to the semi-final of the qualifiers. Three more teams from each group will then battle it out in a series of play-offs to determine the other four qualifiers for the tournament in Australia.

UAE unofficial warm-up fixtures from October 6 to 10

UAE Men’s First XI

UAE v Bermuda (Dubai International Stadium) – October 7, Monday (14:10GST)

UAE v Papua New Guinea (ICC Academy) – October 8, Tuesday (14:10GST)

UAE v Namibia (ICC Academy) – October 10, Thursday (14.10GST)

UAE XI (second team)

UAE XI v Nigeria (Sharjah) – October 6, Sunday (10:00GST)

UAE XI v Kenya (Sharjah) – October 9, Wednesday (10.00GST)

UAE XI v Bermuda (Dubai International Stadium) – October 10, Thursday (10.00GST)

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