Tas­neem says UAE fo­cused on World T20 Qual­i­fier de­spite Asia Cup set­back

Cap­tain con­fi­dent of claim­ing one of two places at Novem­ber’s global tour­na­ment in the West Indies

The National - News - - SPORT - PAUL RADLEY

The UAE women’s team are fo­cused on per­form­ing well at July’s World Twenty20 Qual­i­fier in the Nether­lands de­spite their dis­ap­point­ment at miss­ing out on play­ing at the Asia Cup next month.

The na­tional team will play at their most high-pro­file tour­na­ment to date in six weeks’ time, when they vie for one of two qual­i­fy­ing places at Novem­ber’s World T20 in the Caribbean. They made it to the global qual­i­fier by fin­ish­ing run­ners-up at the Asia re­gional event in Bangkok last Novem­ber.

It had been widely as­sumed that fin­ish­ing in the top two in that event in Thai­land would also mean play­ing at the Women’s Asia Cup 2018.

How­ever, while Thai­land will take up their place at that com­pe­ti­tion, the sec­ond berth for an as­so­ciate na­tion in the six­team event will be filled by Malaysia, the tour­na­ment hosts.

It means Thai­land and Bangladesh will get ex­tra com­pet­i­tive match prac­tice ahead of the Qual­i­fier a month later, while the UAE side are hav­ing to make their own plans.

De­spite the set­back, Hu­maira Tas­neem, the UAE cap­tain, said there is plenty of rea­son for op­ti­mism ahead of the trip to the Nether­lands.

The UAE squad has been bol­stered by the sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion of Chamani Senevi­rathne, who played five World Cups and cap­tained Sri Lanka, be­fore mov­ing to Abu Dhabi for work.

Tas­neem says the side will ben­e­fit from the ex­per­tise of their new col­league, hav­ing reached un­charted ter­ri­tory for UAE women’s cricket by mak­ing it to the Qual­i­fier.

“Her ex­pe­ri­ence is go­ing to be very valu­able for us be­cause none of us have played her level,” Tas­neem said.

“She has played ODIs, she has cap­tained [Sri Lanka], and has played against teams like Bangladesh. It will be very handy to have that. She has al­ready been prac­tic­ing with us, we have seen what she does, and the way she plays is in­cred­i­ble.

“We are re­ally happy to have her in the team and we are all go­ing to be look­ing to her and be in­spired by her.”

The team have been in train­ing for two months, as well as com­pet­ing against each other in the UAE Cricket League, which was won by Abu Dhabi last week.

“Be­fore we went to the Asia qual­i­fier we hadn’t played a lot of matches, and we want to change that this time,” Tas­neem said. “We want as many matches as pos­si­ble, and to get that ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing against each other.

“It is ex­cit­ing. This jour­ney started in Thai­land, when we nearly won the tour­na­ment. We should have won that tour­na­ment, and it hurt us that we didn’t as we could have been play­ing Asia Cup now.”

The Qual­i­fier starts on July 3, with the fi­nal on July 14, with the UAE be­ing drawn in a group with Bangladesh, Pa­pua New Guinea and the hosts Nether­lands.

“This is a very ex­cit­ing, and re­ward­ing mile­stone for UAE cricket,” Waleed Bukhatir, the Emi­rates Cricket Board mem­ber and chief se­lec­tor said.

“Our women’s team con­tinue to go from strength to strength, and we are ex­cep­tion­ally proud of both the play­ers and the coach­ing team’s un­wa­ver­ing ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment.”

Tas­neem says the side will ben­e­fit from the ex­per­tise of their new col­league Chamani Senevi­rathne

Chris Whi­teoak / The Na­tional

Hu­maira Tas­neem, cen­tre, and her UAE team­mates will be short on match prac­tice be­fore the trip to Nether­lands

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.