Coach Aaqib Javed has revealed that all-rounder Asif Iqbal will make his UAE debut in today’s three-day friendly game against Scotland.
The 32-year-old, recently qualified to represent the UAE earlier this year, has been in fine form for his domestic club Danube Lions.
After impressing in training sessions in Dubai and Hampshire, UK, Javed is confident he can excel on the international stage.
“Asif’s a very mature player and he’s been doing really well recently in the domestic circuit,” said Javed.
“He looks like a very compact player and he will bring a lot to the team by how he bowls and bats.”
Iqbal will open the innings alongside Amjad Ali and Javed has a fully-fit squad, led by Mohammad Tauqir, to choose from, despite the absence of Khurram Khan – who will travel to the UK later this week.
Today’s game at the Ageas Bowl in Hampshire will help the players prepare for their first-round ICC I-Cup from June 2 to 5, and Javed is pleased with his team’s training efforts after voicing his concerns in adjusting to English conditions last week.
“We’ve had some good sessions and it was crucial for the batsmen to know the pitch conditions,” said the 42-year-old.
“The practice sessions have been a huge difference so far. The pitches in the UK hold a bit of moisture and there is a bit of a sideways movement.
“The players are focused on playing the ball straight and they are beginning to understand that they have to sacrifice things when they play on these type of tracks, meaning there’s no cover drives and waiting for the ball to come to you. Overall they are making good adjustments.”
Scotland will have a squad mixed with youth and experience which also features promising spinner Mark Watt and opener Andrew Umeed.
Despite the changes, Javed – whose side will be playing their first game in the longer format since the 158-run win over Namibia in September 2013 – is wary of the threats posed by Preston Mommsen’s side.
He said: “If you look at Scotland recently they have got a quite experienced batting line-up and they’ve done really well in the last couple of four-day competitions.
“They’ve made a few changes but I think they are better batting than bowling. Their batting is the main strength and we will look to put some pressure on them.
“If we win the toss, we will put them in and try to bowl them out around 250 and then force a good total and put them under pressure.”
He added: “This game is definitely huge for us. Not many of our players have played in the UK and it’s a mind game for them, which will help us for the Ireland match.”
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