The 42-year-old batsman will lead UAE in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013 that gets underway on 15 November
United Arab Emirates (UAE) captain Khurram Khan can do little else but dream of qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014.
The 42-year-old batsman will lead his side in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2013 (WT20Q) that gets underway on 15 November. The tournament, which will be played across six venues in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, sees the host placed in Group A alongside the current ICC WT20Q champion, Ireland. They will also be joined by Namibia, Canada, Uganda, USA, Italy and Hong Kong.
“It would be a dream come true to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next year. All the hard work that we have put in would have paid off and with people’s perception of cricket in the UAE forever changing it would really be the icing on the cake,” said Khurram.
The UAE did not compete in the last WT20Q, held in March 2012, but has enjoyed a busy year preparing for this year’s event. The side finished third at the Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 Cup in April, beating fellow Group A team Hong Kong by 32 runs in the play-off, before finishing third in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship and fourth in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, both of which finished in October.
Khurram explained how the team has been preparing: “We’ve been playing non-stop since we finished our tour of Canada for the Pepsi ICC WCL Championship. We’ve already started regular sessions in the last four or five months to help us prepare for this tournament.”
“We’ve played against all the teams in our group and they know our strengths and that means I think it will be a close contest. The shortest format of the game is probably the most unpredictable and that means you can’t write of any team, we simply have to play our best cricket,” said Khurram.
However, Khurram does not believe that playing on home territory will play to the team’s advantage: “Home conditions may not be a big advantage for us as most of the teams, if not all of them, have played here before and know the conditions the UAE has to offer.
“Our players will need to be on top form and I think they will be the thing that will make the difference for us during the event. The likes of our key top order batsmen, Shaiman Anwar, Saqib Ali and Swapnil Patil are all in great form; combine that with the all-rounders of Nasir Aziz, Muhammad Azam and Rohan Mustafa and we stand in good stead for the tournament.”
Khurram rounded off with a rallying cry to the people of the UAE to come and support his side in the tournament: “I think everyone in the UAE should be coming out to support us in the event. All the matches are free to attend and we are one of the few sides in the top eight sides that doesn’t play cricket on a full-time basis and yet we’re consistently performing against the top teams.”
The UAE kicks off its campaign against Uganda on November 15 at Abu Dhabi Oval 1.
United Arab Emirates – Khurram Khan (captain), Saqib Ali, Shaiman Anwar, Muhammad Azam, Nasir Aziz, Manjula Ansanka Guruge, Amjad Javed, Rohan Mustafa, Muhammad Naveed, Swapnil Patil, Ahmed Raza, Abdul Shakoor, Kamran Shahzad, Shadeep Silva, Muhammad Shafiq