Dubai: UAE captain Khurram Khan is upbeat about his team’s chances ahead of their opening match in the ACC Elite Cup that kicks off at different venues in the country from Wednesday.
The UAE will hope to make a positive start to the ten-team tournament when they face Nepal, runner-up to Afghanistan in 2010, in a Group B fixture at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Play starts at 9.30am.
Hong Kong, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are the other teams they will play in a round-robin format while Afghanistan, Malaysia, Oman, Bhutan and Maldives comprise Group A.
Veteran off-spinner Mohammad Tauqir has been named the deputy captain in the 14-member UAE squad announced by the UAE Emirates Cricket Board.
The squad also includes experienced Arshad Ali who is making a comeback after missing out of the recent Netherlands Tour.
“We have a pretty balanced team and, hopefully, we can go the full distance this time around,” said Khan.
“For that to happen, we will have to summon our A-game against all teams. You never know what will happen in this format of cricket, but if self-belief is any yardstick, I can expect a great fight from the boys.
Mazhar Khan, Administrator, Emirates cricket board, added: “We look forward to welcoming players for the ACC Elite Cup, a prestigious event which will showcase the rising standards of the game in the non-Test playing countries.
“We are indeed grateful to ACC for giving us this opportunity to host the event. We will try and do our best to ensure all the teams have a pleasant stay in the UAE.”
The tournament has further cemented the UAE’s position as a top venue for hosting international cricket matches. It recently hosted the ICC World T-20 Qualifiers where the facilities came in for all-round praise.
Matches will be played at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Ovals 1 and 2, Abu Dhabi’s Shaikh Zayed Stadium, The Nursery Oval in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Cricket stadium and Al Dhaid Cricket village.
The finals will be held on October 12.
Khurram Khan (Captain), Mohammad Tauqir (vice-captain), Arshad Ali, Saqib Ali, Amjad Javed, Ahmad Raza, Rohan Mustafa, Haroon Iftikhar, Manjula Garuge, Shimon Anwar, Abdul Shakoor (wicket-keeper), Fayyaz Ahmad, Shadeep Silva and Mohammad Azam.
Group A : Afghanistan, Malaysia, Oman, Bhutan and Ma ldives
Group B : Nepal, Hong Kong, UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia