Uncapped Abdul Shakoor and Umair Ali have been called up to the UAE squad for their ICC World Twenty20 qualifying campaign.
The pair join an experienced squad led by Mohammad Tauqir, that will travel to Scotland and Ireland for the tournament from July 9 to 26. Multiplex International’s Shakoor, a batsman/wicketkeeper, became eligible for selection after completing four years of residency while all-rounder Umair plies his trade for Alubond Tigers.
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Both impressed for their domestic clubs this season and their efforts didn’t go unnoticed by UAE coach Aaqib Javed.
The UAE can book their ticket to India for next year’s competition if they finish in the top six in the 14-team event. With games against Scotland, Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada, Kenya and Oman, 42-year-old Javed feels both can offer a lot to his team.
On Shakoor, 26, he said: “He’s done really well in the domestic season, scoring runs efficiently and can also take the gloves as a wicketkeeper.
“He gives us the option of putting him up or down the batting order as he’s effective in any position. He’s very good with his hands and can give us that versatility in the team.”
Umair, 29, is no stranger to the UAE set-up, having been part of the preliminary 30-man World Cup squad.
Javed said: “Umair is a very strong player who always works hard. He has great batting variations and can add an extra dimension in that department. He is also a dangerous medium fast-pacer, who can unsettle the batsmen and can make a big difference in the team.”
Among Umair and Shakoor’s team-mates will be Muhammad Shahzad, who can resume bowling duties after being cleared by the ICC.
The 35-year-old was reported after an Afghanistan ODI in November and passed a test in South Africa last month which showed his action was within the 15-degree limit.
Javed said: “Shahzad is a kind of player who can dictate as a bowler and is very dangerous and useful batsman. We really missed him during the World Cup and it’s great to see that he’s back in the team.”
After their first-round loss to Ireland in the ICC Intercontinental Cup on June 5, Javed has made three changes to his squad with recently-retired former captain Khurram Khan, Asif Iqbal and Chirag Suri making way for Faizan Asif, Umair and Shakoor.
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