05 March 2015
Shaiman Anwar – Top of the World
UAE’s Shaiman Anwar has taken the ICC Cricket World Cup by storm, scoring 270 runs at 67.5
Anwar’s form in the tournament to date has been the cornerstone of a dogged UAE outfit.
Nor was it AB de Villiers, Lahiru Thirimanne or David Warner.
It was Shaiman Anwar, the United Arab Emirates middle-order batsman who has taken the tournament by storm with 270 runs in four innings at an average of 67.5.
While those other batsmen, along with the other six making up the top 10 in the runs tally, are full-time professional cricketers, Anwar took leave from his day job to play in the World Cup.
"Anwar’s preparation for the World Cup was the same as that of his amateur teammates: months of managing a careful juggling act between full-time work and long hours of training."
But the toil has clearly paid off. Anwar’s form in the tournament to date has been the cornerstone of a dogged UAE outfit. Competitive against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka before being blown away by India, the Emirates team again dug in chasing a big Pakistan total in Napier, never troubling the run rate but at the same time refusing to bow down and be bowled out.
Anwar’s stellar tournament started with a flashy 67 off 50 balls against Zimbabwe which propelled his team to a competitive 285.
Against Ireland, his 106 off 83 balls was crucial and carried the UAE from 78-4 to 269-8 when he was dismissed. It was the first century scored by a UAE player in a World Cup match and only the team’s second in ODIs.
Upon reaching three figures, a mega-watt smile light up Anwar’s face, he knelt on his knees and he threw out his arms. It was obvious to see how much it meant.
In both innings, Anwar played fearlessly and with unbridled enthusiasm, enjoying the opportunity to score runs for his team on cricket’s biggest stage.
He was at it again against Pakistan, digging in for a gritty 62 from 88 deliveries, having come to the crease with the UAE in trouble at 25-3.
Like many of his teammates Anwar was born in Pakistan, where he played domestic cricket before receiving an offer in 2007 to play club cricket in the United Arab Emirates.
He accepted and after finding employment with a shipping firm, relocated permanently to the UAE.
Two years later, he made his international debut for his adopted country.
Impressively, the 35-year-old first had only played six official one-dayers when he stepped on to Saxton Oval against Zimbabwe on the sixth day of the World Cup.
His performances so far have earned him a new nickname, UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir revealed after the Pakistan match.
"“He's such a confident individual that we call him Sir Viv in the dressing room. His nickname is Sir Viv,” Tauqir said."
“He's a brilliant batsman. He's doing very well for himself and the team.
“Even today I think he missed a hundred I think. If we would have stayed to the end, he would have scored 90 to 100 runs, but an excellent performance.”
Teammate Amjad Javed gave similar praise after the Ireland match.
“He is one of the best players we have on our team, yeah. On his day he can really score quick runs for us, and we have seen it,” Javed said.
“He's very dangerous, yeah. Once he starts scoring he will score more and big runs.”
Anwar’s performances are leading the way for the remainder of the team, which has two more opportunities to cause an upset before the end of the pool stages, with matches to come against South Africa and West Indies.
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