After finishing as runners-up in the recent ACC Twenty20 Cup on home soil, United Arab Emirates will be hoping to adapt quickly to the longer version of the game when it faces Namibia in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Shield from 5-8 December in Windhoek
The four-team competition, contested by Bermuda, Namibia, Uganda and the UAE, will see a final played in Dubai from 25-28 November 2010. Uganda beat Bermuda by seven wickets in the only match on the competition played to date, which took place in August 2009.
Despite the different format, the UAE team believes that the time spent playing together in the T20 event will serve them well.
Khurram Khan, captain of the squad, said: "It is good that we have had a few matches together before the Intercontinental Shield game. The team was attending a training camp thrice a week under the supervision of our coach Colin Wells at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, and working hard on the areas needed to develop for the longer version of the game."
"Last time we were new to the format, but now we have enough experience to win this tournament," he said.
Wells will be coaching the side for the first time in the longer version of the game and is optimistic about his team's abilities.
"I have never seen the boys, or the opposition, perform in an Intercontinental Shield match so to be confident of winning the tournament would be misplaced," he said. "However, I am confident of my players' skills and expect them to adapt to the different tempo of four-day cricket and perform well."
"We look forward to some good, hard cricket and if we play to our levels, we will get good results. All members of our squad are capable of match-winning performances and this is a belief I try to instill in them."
Wells said he preferred this format of the game over the shorter versions: "Personally, I really enjoy the format of four-day cricket. It sorts out the men from the boys both mentally and physically, and highlights deficiencies in technique as well."
Namibia had a good run in the previous Intercontinental Cup where it topped the group stage but finished runners-up, losing to Ireland in the final by nine wickets.
The team is coached by Johan Rudolph and is undergoing training and fitness sessions and playing local club cricket in preparations for the match. It also participated in the Cricket South Africa domestic three-day competition which provided valuable match practice.
"We did outstandingly well in the last Intercontinental Cup and it was a huge disappointment not playing in the same competition anymore. We need to look forward and make the best of our Shield matches," said Rudolph.
"I believe all four teams would like to win the competition, so it is just a case of who wants it the most. We like to be at the top and will take it match by match."
On key players in his squad, he said: "Each player knows his role in the team and needs to play accordingly. Louis Klazinga, Sarel Burger, Craig Williams, Raymond van Schoor and LP vd Westhuizen are some players to look out for."
"We won against UAE when we met last but the results are now history and we need to focus on this match. A few of our experienced players have retired and we are in the process of re-building and it will be a great challenge for our young players. UAE also has some good players and I believe it will be a testing and good match."
The full squads are:
Craig Williams (captain), Raymond van Schoor, Willem Groenewald, Sarel Burger, Wian van Vuuren, Wessel Myburgh, Louis Petrus vd Westhuizen, Hendrik Geldenhuys, Nicolaas Scholtz, Pieter Rossouw, Nasimane Elton Ambambi, Tobias Verwey, Louis Klazinga, Scholtz Bernhard
Khurram Khan (captain), Mohammed Touqir, Mohammed Iqbal, Arfan Haider, Amjad Javed, Amjad Ali, Fayyaz Ahmed, Shoaib Sarwar, Qassim Zubair, Naeemuddin, Ahmed Raza, Fahad al Hashmi, Arshad Ali, Saqib Ali, Zahid Shah, Abdul Rehman, Mois Shahid Malik, Qadar Nawaz