UAE now eye T20 World Cup

UAE now eye T20 World Cup

Coach Aqib and captain Tauqir confident of qualifying for event in India.

By Moni Mathews (Principal Correspondent)

Published: Thu 11 Jun 2015, 1:05 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:13 PM

Dubai — The UAE cricket team embark on another journey, this time for the ICC World Twenty20 2016 qualifiers (July 9-26) where the top six sides will become eligible to play alongside the 10 elite Test nations in the cup proper in India next year (March-April).

First, the UAE, who made it to the 2014 Bangladesh edition have to come clean from the challenges thrown up by the 14 countries of the associate and third tier groups who will assemble for the qualifiers in Ireland and Scotland next month.

The UAE’s first training session, indoors, began on Tuesday night under the watchful eyes of seasoned coach Aqib Javed, the former Pakistan fast bowler.

For Aqib, the stint here for the past two seasons has seen him guide the UAE into the cricket world cup (50 overs per side) earlier this year, and the previous T20 world showdown.

“The Irish Intercontinental away match in Dublin last week was a different ball game for the UAE who have hardly played in a stretched version of the sport for more than three years,” he told Khaleej Times at the ICC Academy indoor facility, Tuesday night.

“Ireland have the full side who are in county cricket at levels one and two and they were pulled out of ongoing county duty for the match against us. They are the undisputed leaders in the four-day version meant for the associate nations of ICC.

“This particular UAE side has five to six new hands which means the new faces have to get into the system in a short time. They are fast learners so getting adjusted shouldn’t be a problem.

“The nucleus of the side with lots of T20 experience and youth is very good and we should be able to maintain the same form in July.”

Skipper Mohammed Tauqir says the physical fitness aspect which is now in the able hands of New Zealander Peter Kelly has improved the performance levels of the side by at least 50 per cent.

“Peter has done a wonderful job with us getting us all into match condition for each event. Prematch conditioning is so important and even in Ireland where the conditions and type of game were quite alien to us from the 20/20 or 50-over versions that we are so used to, we could somehow manage to go through the long hours in Ireland. Twenty20 is more our kind of game.” Tauqir said.

Kelly who played serious club rugby in the northern districts and in Otago in New Zealand and later in far away Ireland, said: “Adjustments to be made for each tour with customised programmes and fitness routines for each player is quite a challenge when the training duration is short. This coming month will be spent into chalking out a general team plan and concentrating on the individual needs especially the new faces who have joined this T20 squad.”

The ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 will be staged across eight venues in Ireland and Scotland.

The sides that top the two groups will automatically qualify for the World Twenty20 2016. The sides that finish second and third in each of the groups will play cross-over matches with the two winners joining the table-toppers for the India tournament.

The losing sides of the two play-off matches will then play the fourth-placed sides from each of the two groups in cross-over matches with the winners completing the 16-team line-up for the World Twenty20 2016.

Aqib added: “For the UAE team which is scheduled to leave for England first on July 22, we have two warmup matches against Kenya in England and a couple of other first class games before the event opener against Scotland in Group B on July 9 in Edinburgh.”


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