Shiraz doing best to catch UAE selectors’ eye
The Abu Dhabi T10 might be a cheery distraction from the difficulties faced by UAE cricket at present. But the local players involved would be forgiven for having at least some of their thoughts on international duty.
The national team assemble again when this competition is finished, for a one-day international series involving Scotland and United States.
The fact that six players are currently either suspended or absent from duty pending an investigation into corruption means there are spaces up for grabs in the national team.
The T10 has allowed the players to banish the memories of their failure to make it to next year’s T20 World Cup, via the recent Qualifier. Despite a rule that states each side must field at least one UAE-qualified player in their starting XI in the T10, opportunities to impress have remained limited.
But Ahmed Raza, Rohan Mustafa, Sultan Ahmed, and Mohammed Usman – all established figures in the UAE team
– have had their moments in the spotlight.
Junaid Siddique took a wicket with his third ball of the competition before his Northern Warriors side slipped to a six-run loss to Bangla Tigers yesterday.
One uncapped player, too, has caught the eye. Shiraz Ahmed is a left-arm pace-bowler who was little known before this tournament. But he has appeared confident when handed the ball by Dwayne Bravo, his Maratha Arabians captain.
In his second match, the 28-year-old from Multan in Pakistan went for just 14 in his two overs to help bowl the Arabians to a win over Qalandars.
“I am very happy that I am playing for such a good team as Maratha Arabians with so many experienced players around me,” Shiraz said. “I like playing under pressure, and I have good players around me supporting me so I have not been nervous.”
Shiraz’s performances should not have gone unnoticed. UAE selectors Khurram Khan and Mohammed Tauqir are both serving coaching roles in the tournament, while the UAE coach Dougie Brown, is assisting Team Abu Dhabi.
Ahmed Raza, the UAE captain, said selectors are already aware of the pace-bowler’s merits.
“He has very good potential and has been around the circuit for a long time, but hasn’t played for UAE yet,” Raza said.
“He is a left-armer, and we don’t have that kind of variety on our bowling attack ... I think everyone who has been watching him has been impressed.”
The encounter between Karnataka Tuskers and Maratha Arabians was a washout, with the sides sharing a point apiece.
In the final match of the evening, Deccan Gladiators and Team Abu Dhabi shook hands and took a point away after a farcical end.
The Gladiators had appeared well placed on 25-1 in pursuit of the 119 they needed to beat the last-placed side, when rain interrupted the game 2.2 overs into their chase.
The rain did relent, and the covers were removed with plenty of time to reach the five overs that were needed to bring about a result. But a lengthy delay while players and officials debated what the revised target was meant time elapsed, and a no result was declared.