Exclusive: We are very happy to be part of FairBreak Invitational, says UAE captain Mughal

Four UAE players will play in the star-studded Women's Big Bash League-style event at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Members of the Team Spirit during a training session at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. (Supplied photo)
Members of the Team Spirit during a training session at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. (Supplied photo)

Published: Tue 3 May 2022, 11:56 PM

A beautiful new chapter is going to be written in UAE women’s cricket today. The FairBreak Invitational (May 4-15), a women’s T20 tournament featuring six teams, will offer four UAE players a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best female players in the world.

Theertha Satish (The Falcons), Kavisha Kumari (The Barmy Army Team), Esha Oza (The Warriors) and Chaya Mughal (Team Spirit), the four UAE players, are brimming with excitement as they prepare to represent their respective teams in the Women’s Big Bash League-style event at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

The ICC-sanctioned tournament brings together a wealth of talent from both Test-playing teams as well as associate members of the world cricket’s governing body.

To help the women’s cricket acquire a global appeal, the FairBreak Invitational has blended stars like Heather Knight (England captain), Stafanie Taylor (West Indies skipper) and Pakistan icon Sana Mir with emerging talents from countries like Brazil, Philippines, Rwanda and Vanuatu.

And with Dubai staging the event, the UAE players have got a wonderful opportunity to test their skills against big names.

This unique tournament could not have arrived on these shores at a better time as the UAE team are one just step away from entering the 2023 ICC T20 World Cup, having earned a place in the Global Qualifiers for the showpiece event by winning the Asian qualifying tournament on home soil.

The FairBreak Invitational will be a great learning experience for the four key UAE players, including captain Chaya Mughal, ahead of their big challenge in the Global Qualifiers for the 2023 T20 World Cup.

“We are happy to be a part of this major event. Nobody could even dream of being a part of such an event where you’re playing with international players at elite level,” Mughal told Khaleej Times on Tuesday.

UAE captain Chaya Mughal celebrates a wicket. (Supplied picture)
UAE captain Chaya Mughal celebrates a wicket. (Supplied picture)

Mughal, who has come a long way since leaving India for the UAE in 2010 to work as a school teacher, says it’s a surreal feeling to be among marquee names.

“All four of us, we are in awe of these (international) players, you know, whenever we see them at the breakfast table,” she admitted.

“I remember the first time I saw one of my favourite players, you know, I got goosebumps, literally I got it. So it’s like a dream come true for me.

“But, of course, in terms of cricket, this is going to be a major learning curve for all of us. I’m going to learn a lot that I will be implementing in my game. You know, sharing the dressing room with elite players will give me immense confidence.”

The 35-year-old Mughal, whose UAE team recently won the T20 International series against Hong Kong, is looking forward to passing on her new knowledge to her UAE teammates.

“This tournament will give me an insight into what the international players do, the strategies that they apply, the pre-match or post-match routines, how they handle the pressure at such level. It’s something that I’m really looking forward to seeing and I want to share later on with my team UAE,” she said.

“That will not only improve my performance but overall the performance of the UAE team. All four of us, being in different teams, will give us an insight into how they (top players) go about the difficult situations.”

Mughal hopes that the FairBreak Invitational is only the start of something truly big for women’s cricket in the UAE.

“Who wouldn’t want to see more such major events happening here in the UAE? To be a part of these major global events, you know, I’m really happy and I really want these events to keep happening and give opportunities to the players, those who are at the very small level,” she said.

“This will not only give us a platform or an opportunity to play and perform and showcase our talent in front of other people, this will also give us confidence and boost our morale.

“So yes, definitely, I would want to see these events happening more often and giving opportunities for the associate nation players like us, so that girls in UAE are encouraged to take up cricket as a sport.”

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