UAE teenager Aayan Khan. Image Credit: Twitter / ICC

Dubai: UAE teenager Aayan Khan, the youngest player in the Twenty20 World Cup 2022, beginning in Australia on Sunday, targets taking UAE into the second round of the showpiece.

“Playing in the World cup at such young age is a proud moment for me and my family. Delightful to represent the UAE at a big stage. My main goal is to perform well and try and help my team qualify for the second round,” the 16-year-old all-rounder told Gulf News from Australia.

Aayan Khan first announced his arrival on the big stage when he led the UAE’s fightback against West Indies in the Under-19 World Cup Plate semi-finals. With UAE down at 26 for 4, Aayan knock of 93 set the base for his team’s 82-run win over the Test-playing nation.

That win formed the foundation for UAE’s success this year, culminating in the senior men’s team qualifying for the Twenty20 World Cup after defeating Ireland in the final in Oman.

Youngest player

Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir, who started the 2009 World Cup at 16 years and 56 days, remains the youngest player in all T20 World Cups. Aayan Khan is 16 years and 335 days when he faces the Netherlands on Sunday.

Aayan Khan, who had credited his father with helping his batting as he gives him 150 balls of sidearm every day and also bowls 30 minutes of spot bowling during the two-hour training, feels there is no real pressure on him as he had already made his debut against Bangladesh despite playing on such a big stage.

“No pressure for me as I recently debuted against Bangladesh and the two matches have gone good for me,” he says. In fact, Aayan Khan led the UAE’s chase and almost pulled off a victory against Bangladesh in the first match against Bangladesh, incidentally his debut game where he also grabbed a wicket in his first international over.