'David Warner’s faith in me has really helped,’ says Dubai Capitals’ Akif Raja

UAE pacer believes the ‘team is now like a family with the international and younger national team players working closely together

By Team KT

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Skif Raja. - Supplied photo
Skif Raja. - Supplied photo

Published: Sat 27 Jan 2024, 6:08 PM

Last updated: Sat 27 Jan 2024, 6:09 PM

UAE pacer Akif Raja lauded skipper David Warner for his support during the ongoing DP World ILT20 season 2.

Speaking ahead of Dubai Capitals clash against the Gulf Giants at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Akif credited the Australian for all his help during his time with the GMR Sport-owned team till now.

“I'm very grateful to have David Warner as my Captain this season. It's his faith in me that has helped me grow. He has given me a fixed role to work on, and I have focused on that. It's a surreal experience with him as captain,” said the right-arm medium fast bowler.

Now playing in his second season with the Capitals, Akif has settled into the squad and is confident about the future.

“I feel more comfortable this time around since it is my second season in the ILT20 with the Dubai Capitals,” he said. “This team is now like a family to me, with all the international players as well as the younger UAE players working closely together.

“We have won two of the three games that we have played till now, so the future of our team seems bright,” Akif added.

The ILT20 has given UAE players a lot of exposure by competing alongside many reputed international stars and Akif believes the league will help improve the standard of the national team

The proof lies in the performance of the U19 team that reached the final of the Asia Cup in 2023.

“Our improvement as an international team depends on how we perform as players in this league,” he said.

“Right now, we have two players in the XI (of all the teams) but if we can prove ourselves, it will show with the number of UAE players selected in the XI.

“The youngsters proved it in the U19 Asia Cup. So, this shows that we have a bright future as well,” the 31-year-old added.

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