Exclusive: UAE captain happy for Mahika as Dubai girl gets into England team

Mahika Gaur, who played 19 T20 internationals for the UAE, is now all set to play for England, the country of her birth

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Chaya Mughal (right) with Mahika Gaur who played 19 T20 internationals for the UAE. Mahika has been picked by England selectors for Sri Lanka series. — Supplied photo
Chaya Mughal (right) with Mahika Gaur who played 19 T20 internationals for the UAE. Mahika has been picked by England selectors for Sri Lanka series. — Supplied photo

Published: Fri 25 Aug 2023, 1:15 AM

Chaya Mughal, the UAE national women's cricket team captain, was not one bit surprised when she heard the news about her former teammate, Mahika Gaur, earning a place in the England squad.

Mahika, who played 19 T20 internationals for the UAE, is also eligible to play for England, the country of her birth.


The 17-year-old left-arm pace bowler, who moved to Dubai with her parents in 2014, has been called up by the England selectors for the team's white-ball series against Sri Lanka next month.

Mughal says she always knew Mahika, who made her UAE debut at the age of 12, was capable of playing for a top team.


Mahika Gaur (centre) is seen taking a selfie with captain Chaya Mughal (right) and other teammates after UAE won a match. — Supplied photo
Mahika Gaur (centre) is seen taking a selfie with captain Chaya Mughal (right) and other teammates after UAE won a match. — Supplied photo

"I am really happy for Mahika for getting selected for the England women's national team. Her dedication and hard work have been commendable. I always knew that she had the potential to play for a top international side," Mughal told the Khaleej Times.

The UAE captain credits the Emirates Cricket Board for the growth of women's cricket in the country which has allowed talented young players like Mahika to make a mark on the big stage.

"This also shows that the UAE has developed a strong base for training young cricketers. I think this has played a crucial role for players like Mahika to get an opportunity to shine on a global stage," said Mughal.

"So definitely the UAE has played a major role in her development. I am really, really happy for her and I will be following her progress. I wish her all the best for her cricketing journey."

Mughal admitted, though, that as the captain of the national team, she would miss Mahika, whose best bowling figures (3/21) in UAE colours came against Sri Lanka.

"Am I feeling a bit sad that she will no longer a be part of the UAE team? Yeah, you can say that, but I am extremely happy for her," she said.

Chaya Mughal celebrates a win with Mahika Gaur. — Supplied photo
Chaya Mughal celebrates a win with Mahika Gaur. — Supplied photo

"So whatever sadness I have as the captain for losing a player like her, that is much lower than the happiness that I am feeling right now.

"For a player like her, she deserves to play for a top team and show the world what she has got."

Mughal knew Mahika had great potential on the very first day she saw her.

"I remember the day I first met her. It was at the ICC Academy in Dubai, we were having a net session. I saw a tall, young bowler who came in and tried to bowl fast," Mughal recalled.

"She was always trying to pitch the ball hard and bowl fast. She was very young at that time and the kind of effort she was putting on every ball, I understood that she had great potential to make a name and play for a long time.

"She got my attention and I was like: 'Yes, she is the one we need in our team, the tall left-arm pace bowler'.

"She was also a very fast learner and she would always listen to the advice. I think all that has helped her in reaching the stage she has reached now."

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