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This is the second bilateral series between the UAE and Afghanistan in the UAE this year. Image Credit: Source: ECB X

Dubai: It was dream come true for three UAE under-19 players who created history in Asia Cup Under-19 earlier this month after being named in the senior squad for the three match Twenty20 series against Afghanistan, beginning in Sharjah on Friday.

Dhruv Parashar, Omid Rahman and Tanish Suri starred for the UAE during their maiden entry into the continental final and were rewarded with a spot along with another promising youngster Samal Udawaththa, who made his mark in various domestic tournaments in recent months, including the ILT20 Development Tournament.

“I am pleased to be selected into senior men’s team. I’ve played more than 25 matches for the UAE under-19 team over the last few years and been part of the men’s team training squad for the last three years. So finally getting picked into the squad is an honour. It’s a good milestone, but also just the beginning. I’m looking forward to contributing to the team’s success in whatever role I get to play. This is a motivation for me to keep working harder and learn from senior players in the team,” said the UAE all-rounder, who had a total of 10 wickets in the Asia Cup under-19, including a six-wicket haul against champions Bangladesh in the opening league clash.

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Aayan Afzal Khan bowls during a UAE training session at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Image Credit: Suppllied

Stunning show

Parashar is not overawed by the occasion and aims to build on UAE’s recent success against Afghanistan, who are coming on a high after a stunning show in the 50-over World Cup in India where they defeated three former champions and had champions Australia on the mat.

So obviously, we just had a training session and looking forward to it and my team is also looking forward to it.

Dhruv Parashar

“Twenty20 is a stronger format for UAE. We’ve done well against New Zealand in the last series, winning one match and against Afghanistan we won one and came close in the other. We have had some good performances at Sharjah Stadium and are looking forward to meeting a strong Afghanistan side,” he added.

Pacer Omid took five wickets and troubled even the best during the Asia Cup under-19, wicketkeeper-batter Tanish Suri scored 163 runs in his five innings.

Exciting days

“It’s exciting for my parents and me as well. It’s my maiden men’s series against Afghanistan, really great and feels exciting,” said Tanish Suri. “It’s a dream come true, playing against a Test-playing nation and my debut if it happens, is going to be against Afghanistan. So that’s a big thing for me.”

Tanish Suri

This is the second bilateral series between the two sides in the UAE this year. The series is part of the Emirates Cricket Board’s long-term strategy of providing regular opportunities to UAE players of playing against ICC’s Full Members.

The series would be broadcast live on RTA Sports — Afghanistan, Fancode — India, A Sports — Pakistan, Willow TV — USA and Sportseye on Facebook/YouTube — UAE and rest of the world.

UAE squad: Muhammad Waseem (captain), Ali Naseer, Aayan Afzal Khan, Basil Hameed, Dhruv Parashar, Khalid Shah, Muhammad Jawadullah, Muhammad Junaid Siddique, Nilansh Keswani, Omid Rahman, Raja Akifullah, Samal Udawaththa, Tanish Suri and Vriitya Aravind.

Schedule (at Sharjah Cricket Stadium):

December 29: First Twenty20, 6pm

December 31: Second Twenty20, 6pm

January 2: Third Twenty20, 6pm