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UAE gear up for T20 World Cup qualifiers

UAE gear up for T20 World Cup qualifiers

Fourteen second tier aspirants prepare for six 2016 berths

By Moni Mathews (principal Correspondent)

Published: Thu 18 Jun 2015, 2:22 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:11 PM

Peter Kelly, conditioning specialist, instructs the UAE cricket team during a practice session at the ICC Academy Sports City in Dubai. — KT file photo

Dubai — The UAE cricket team, now undergoing a coaching camp at the ICC Academy indoor facility at the Dubai Sports City complex, have got into their final phases of fitness routines and skill sessions.

The side is scheduled to leave later this month for the 14-team Scotland-Ireland ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier-2015. The tournament will determine the six additional berths meant for the associate member nations in the T20 World Cup in India from March 11 to April 3, 2016.

The top six sides from the 18-day qualifier event, during which 51 matches will be played, will join the 10 Full Members for the India showdown.

According to the format of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, the sides that top the two groups will automatically qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, while the sides that finish second and third in each of the two groups will play cross-over matches with the two winners joining the table-toppers for the India tournament.

Aqib Javed who coaches the UAE national squad, a task he has carried out successfully for the past two seasons, has seen the side qualify for the previous T20 showdown in Bangladesh and the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“The side is getting used to the routines and training methods after our brief journey into the four-day routine of the Intercontinental Cup in Ireland last month,” Aqib said recently.

“The new faces that have replaced a few of the Irish match now have more or less got used to the gelling requirements needed. It’s so crucial for a version as short as 20 overs a side. We will leave later this month and try getting used to the conditions there with warm-up matches against Kenya in England,” Aqib added.

Veteran Mohamed Tauqir continues to lead the UAE, a side with a fine blend of experience and youth though Khurram Khan’s retirement will hit the team hard till another solid middle order bat can be groomed soon enough to take his place.

“There are some changes and we see the new faces working even harder to get into the rhythm. New exercise and fitness schedules have been drawn up by our expert Peter Kelly whose contribution has made a lot of difference to our staying powers,” said Tauqir.

Meanwhile, an ICC media communique on Wednesday said all the 14 sides have sent in the final team lists for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 in Ireland and Scotland from July 9 to 26.

In the July tournament, Ireland will also aim to complete a hat-trick of titles after it won the March 2012 and November 2013 qualifiers, both times defeating Afghanistan in the final.

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