Dubai: Aizaz Khan, the 25-year-old Hong Kong medium-pacer who dashed the UAE’s plans of playing in the Asia Cup through a five-wicket spell in the final of the Qualifier in Malaysia last week, feels that his hard work and the team’s determined effort have earned their rewards.
Speaking to Gulf News on arrival at the ICC Academy for their first training session before the start of the Asia Cup, Khan said: “It is always a good feeling to be the player of the match. We had worked pretty hard over the last month and we did really well in the Asia Cup qualifiers. It is a great feeling to qualify for the Asia Cup.”
Khan knows that UAE fans will be aggrieved with him and so when asked about how does it feels to come the country that he stopped from reaching the Asia Cup, Khan said: “Obviously they will be upset, it is part of the game. We did well in the qualifiers so it is credit to the guys in our team that we really did well. UAE players will have to accept it as part of the game.”
Khan was born in Hong Kong but his parents are from Pakistan and hence want to perform at his best against Pakistan on September 16. “I am really excited to play against them. Pakistan are also a great side. We are all looking forward for that match.”
Khan will realise a dream too while playing against his hero. “I follow Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir,” he said. “He is my idol and I am really excited on getting to play against him and also get to watch him closely.”
Khan believes that bowling well is very important to win matches in any tournament. “Our strength in the Asia Cup qualifier final was that we bowled really well and we got a few wickets early,” he said. “Chasing the UAE target of around 190, everyone chipped in with crucial runs. It was a great team effort.
“I started playing from my primary school days. We had a nice primary school team and we had a former national player Afzaal Haider as our coach. He was my first coach.”
Haider was a Pakistan-born Hong Kong medium-pacer who, like Khan, had produced a five-wicket spell against Nepal in the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup.
Khan did well in schools cricket and went on to play for Hong Kong Under-19 team. In 2010 he got to play in the Under-19 World Cup and made his debut for Hong Kong in the 2011 World Cricket League Division Three and played a pivotal role in his country getting promoted to World Cricket League Division Two.
“This is my sixth tour to UAE and want to make it memorable,” said Khan, who also revealed that he regards his spell of 5 for 28 in the Asia Cup qualifier final against the UAE as the top performance of his career so far. “I consider that spell as one of my best spells as it was a final and we qualified for the Asia Cup.”
So is Khan aiming to take any particular batsman’s wicket in the Asia Cup? “I will be happy if can get a few wickets because everyone is a top player in Pakistan and Indian team. We are all excited for the games against India and Pakistan.”