Abbas urges UAE youngsters to put their heads down and focus in U19 Asia Cup summit clash

Veteran cricket administrator says the game's future looks bright given the talent and attitude the current team has displayed

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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UAE captain Aayan Afzal Khan receiving the player of the match award after the ACC Men's U19 Asia Cup 2023 semifinal. - Photo by Asian Cricket Council
UAE captain Aayan Afzal Khan receiving the player of the match award after the ACC Men's U19 Asia Cup 2023 semifinal. - Photo by Asian Cricket Council

Published: Fri 15 Dec 2023, 8:28 PM

Mohammed Redha Abbas, one of the pioneers of UAE cricket, has led the praise for the UAE U19 cricket team after the Aayan Afzal Khan-led side qualified for the ACC U19 Asia Cup for the first time, but he also had some valuable advice to share.

“The future looks very bright for UAE cricket given the performance of this young team,” said Abbas, an Emirati who has enjoyed a lifelong association with Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) and whom he has served in many roles - secretary, treasurer and Vice Chairman.

“These players are the future of UAE cricket. To beat a strong team like Pakistan is no fluke, they had a plan and executed it beautifully.

“I would like to see them put their heads down, focus and play the same way in the final against Bangladesh,” added Abbas who was also a member of the Emirates Cricket Board from 1989 to 2015.

“I’m very happy with the way as evolved from my days. In those days we did not have the financial resources like board now has. We did not have sponsors either or a good coaching system, grounds and facilities.

Mohammad Redha Abbas (left), vice-chairman of the Dubai Cricket Council, with  its Chairman Abdul Rahman Falaknaz. KT File
Mohammad Redha Abbas (left), vice-chairman of the Dubai Cricket Council, with its Chairman Abdul Rahman Falaknaz. KT File

“Everything has changed for the better. I wish these talented boys all the best for Sunday. They have beaten the strongest team and should enter the final knowing that a big opportunity awaits them”

Meanwhile the Emirates Cricket Board has announced that fans will be allowed free entry in the DIS spectator stands for Sunday’s final.

ECB General Secretary Mubashshir Usmani also congratulated the team on their milestone win

“We are delighted with the team’s sensational performance and congratulate all the players and the coaching staff on this historic achievement,” he said in a statement.

“The players and coaches have worked tirelessly to produce these results, the future of UAE cricket is incredibly bright and these are the players who will take the sport to the next level."

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