For­eign-born rule loos­ened

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THE Malaysian Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (MCA) loos­ened their pol­icy on for­eign-born play­ers rep­re­sent­ing the coun­try af­ter re­call­ing Khizar Hayat Dur­rani for the World League Divi­sion Three cam­paign in Uganda on May 23-30.

Pak­istan-born Khizar im­pressed the na­tional se­lec­tors with both bat and ball while play­ing for Penang in the re­cent­ly­con­cluded Malaysian Premier League, scor­ing three half-cen­turies in seven matches and tak­ing 11 wick­ets at an av­er­age of 20.27.

Khizar’s last ap­pear­ance for Malaysia was the ACC Twenty20 Cup in Fe­bru­ary 2015 though he played a prom­i­nent role in Malaysia’s pro­mo­tion from Divi­sion Five and Divi­sion Four in 2014.

With no ma­jor tour­na­ments over the past two years, how­ever, MCA elected to field all-lo­cal sides in var­i­ous bi­lat­eral se­ries against Sin­ga­pore and tour matches, as well as at the ACC Emerg­ing Teams Asia Cup in Dhaka in March.

But with a place in the 2018 Divi­sion Two at stake, MCA pres­i­dent Mahinda Val­lipu­ram stressed the im­por­tance of Malaysia field­ing their best side.

“The se­lec­tors have brought Khizar back but where and how he is used is up to the coach (Bi­lal Asad),” said Val­lipu­ram.

“The Divi­sion Three tour­na­ment is very cru­cial be­cause it is a path­way to the 2018 Cricket World Cup qual­i­fiers. If we miss out on pro­mo­tion this time, it’s a long wait to the next cy­cle.”

Aside from Khizar, MCA se­lec­tors re­called vice-cap­tain Anwar Arudin and Anwar Ab­dul Rah­man af­ter both missed the Emerg­ing Teams Asia Cup while new­comer Che Wan Ra­zlan Che Wan Zalati is the back-up wick­et­keeper to Shafiq Sharif.

Malaysia face Sin­ga­pore in the open­ing match on May 23 in Kam­pala be­fore tak­ing on the United States (May 24), Canada (May 26), Uganda (May 27) and Oman (May 29).

The top two teams af­ter the com­ple­tion of the round-robin league will be pro­moted to Divi­sion Two and the bot­tom two rel­e­gated to Divi­sion Four.

The squad leaves to­mor­row for Nairobi where they will play warm-up games against Kenya, Sin­ga­pore and Oman to ac­cli­ma­tise to the con­di­tions.

SQUAD: Ah­mad Faiz Mo­ham­mad Noor (capt), Amin­udin Ramly, Pa­van­deep Singh, Derek Michael Du­raisingam, Che Wan Ra­zlan Che Wan Zalati, Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak, Wafiq Ir­fan Zar­bani, Shukri Ab­dul Rahim, Anwar Arudin, Vi­ran­deep Singh, Anwar Ab­dul Rah­man, Fikri Makram Wan Rosdi, Shafiq Sharif (wk), Khizar Hayat Dur­rani. Devin­der Singh

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