Former UAE footballer bats for cricket

Former UAE footballer bats for cricket
Subait Khater with Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq

Khater was at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium as part of an ADSC initiative to promote cricket



By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Thu 20 Oct 2016, 8:43 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Oct 2016, 10:49 PM

A former UAE international footballer - Subait Khater - created a record of sorts on Thursday when he wielded a willow.
Khater was at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium as part of an Abu Dhabi Sports Council's (ADSC) initiative to promote cricket among the UAE nationals.
"I was called by the ADSC and I am here at the cricket stadium to experience this game. The idea is to get the nationals involved in this game," the star of the 2007 Gulf Cup winning UAE team told Khaleej Times.

Khater has represented the national team 124 times, played 203 times for Al Ain.
"To start with I need to come to the stadium and watch a match. When I will attend a match, people will ask why I am here. I want them to ask this question. You need to try it to know why," he said after having few knocks with the bat.
"What I know from the ADSC is that nationals should try cricket. The council will try to take the game to the schools. Cricket is better than many other sports. Time is ripe for cricket to be everywhere."
In the UAE, mostly expatriates play cricket but ADSC would like to change the perception and induct more nationals into the game.
The ADSC is trying to hit two targets with one stone and Khater reveals the bigger idea. "The sport is like a family. If I don't come to you then you don't come to me. Just like I come to this stadium maybe in the future people can support us (football) also," he said indicating the efforts initiated to fill the football stadiums.
Are you going to be the brand ambassador to promote the sport of cricket in the UAE? "Insha'allah, I hope," he said and went on to exchange T-shirts with Pakistan Test cricket captain Misbah ul Haq and West Indies counterpart Jason Holder.
When reminded of his days at Al Ain and Al Jazira his eyes gleamed and body language changed. He was ready for one last game.
On being asked if Al Ain can do anything better than reaching the final, he said: "It can get better." He meant the AFC Champions League Cup.
With Al Ain and Al Jazira, he recollected to have won 19 titles, including the League titles.
"Yes, after Helal Saeed, I have the most number of titles," he said.
A quick question on the current national team and their loss to Saudi Arabia in the Fifa World Cup qualifier, he said: "We played well in other matches (Japan, Australia and Thailand). We lost against Saudi Arabia but in future games we will do well."
On coach Mahdi Ali being under pressure, he just said: "Any good team will work well under pressure."
Is there a public outcry against Mahdi Ali?
"No one talked only about what the coach did but everyone talked just about the game (against Saudi Arabia). I hope we can get good results in the future."
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

Subait Khater with the West Indies captain jason Holder at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
Subait Khater with the West Indies captain jason Holder at the Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.

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