No-fear factor has helped the UAE U19 team realise their capabilities, says Bhatia

Veteran coach Jasapara applauds the pivotal role played by the ECB to develop cricket among the youth

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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UAE players celebrate their  win against Pakistan. - Photo by Asian Cricket Council
UAE players celebrate their win against Pakistan. - Photo by Asian Cricket Council

Published: Fri 15 Dec 2023, 11:02 PM

The UAE U19 team’s watershed moment when they beat Pakistan to reach the Asia Cup U19 final has resonated far beyond the boundaries of the ICC Acadmey’s pristine grass pitches into the hearts of every cricket lover in the country.

Shyam Bhatia, a die-hard promoter of the game at the grassroots level, was touched by what he described as one of the greatest wins by the national team in close to three decades.

“Today’s youngsters have no fear. They have bundles of confidence and skill,” he told Khaleej Times. “With these characteristics, anything is possible, anything can be accomplished, as these boys demonstrated today.

“Cricket is a very cruel game, it is unforgiving. You have to play your best every time you walk onto the pitch and this is what they did.

“Beating Pakistan the way they did was not because they were lucky,” Bhatia added. “They planned the win and they got the win.

Cricket lovers Shyam Bhatia (right) and Gopal Jasapara. - Khaleej Time File
Cricket lovers Shyam Bhatia (right) and Gopal Jasapara. - Khaleej Time File

“As somebody who has served and supported UAE cricket for close to 40 years, it makes me feel very proud.

“My advice to them for Sunday is not to keep thinking this is the last match, the final,” he said. I want them to look at it as another game, a new game and to play the game as you would any match. There will be less pressure and it will let them be who they are.”

Veteran Dubai cricket coach Gopal Jasapara, who has groomed many cricketers during his long innings in the UAE, praised the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for putting in the infrastructure that has helped develop the game in the country.

“What this team has achieved today is a big boost for UAE cricket,” he said. “It will have a serious impact on the mind of every young cricketer or every youngster who wants to make a career out of the game.

“This will allow them to dream, and take that step forward. It will have made them proud and instilled in them confidence and hunger,” Jasapara added.

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“But this would not have been possible but for all the work that has been done over the past ten years through the many professional academies and the Emirates Cricket Board which has invested wholeheartedly in young programs. They deserve a lot of credit as well,” he said.

“But for the moment, let’s just pause and salute this team of achievers. I can only wish them the very best of luck in Sunday’s final.”


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