Dubai: A confident UAE departed for Australia on Thursday morning in advance to get acclimatised ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup, to begin on October 16.
The UAE are in Group A in Round One along with Sri Lanka, Namibia and Netherlands and the top two from the group will advance to the Super 8 and join the likes of India, Pakistan and defending world champions Australia.
“We are confident of getting into the main draw (Super 8),” Robin Singh, Director of Cricket, Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) told Gulf News before embarking on the flight that carries the dreams of the UAE players, both young and the experienced.
It’s going to be a wonderful experience for the young UAE players, six of them have graded up from the junior ranks, including vice-captain Vriitya Aravind.
The 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batter said: “I am really excited and looking forward to the World Cup.” It is understandable after scoring runs profusely during this year in various formats, Vriitya has been elevated to the vice-captain’s role before the start of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 series in Scotland, couple of months ago.
“Not much of a difference in my role because as a keeper I was a leader in the team anyway, now I have to continue the role officially. It’s a good role to have and with CP being the new captain and me as his deputy, it’s new experience for us. And, hopefully, we do well in the World Cup,” he added.
The UAE had a litmus test for their preparations with a two-match series against Bangladesh, which gave a good insight into the areas for development, but many positives came out of the contest and main among them were the standout performances by teenage all-rounder Aayan Khan and impressive bowling by Karthik Meiyappan.
Skipper CP Rizwan felt that the early arrival in Australia will help the team get acclimatised to the conditions faster and also understand the requirement to emerge winners. In the process the UAE will play several practice matches and two official warm-up matches, one against two-time champions West Indies, on October 10, and Scotland three days later before meeting Netherlands in the first game.
Confidence-booster for UAE team
“We are feeling confident of doing well in the World Cup and getting ready for the journey. We have get used to the conditions early and take the positives from the series against Bangladesh and trust our preparations. I am sure we will adapt faster and fine-tune our skills sets to the requirement of Australian conditions,” skipper Rizwan said.
The Bangladesh series has acted as a confidence-booster for UAE, who lost the first match by seven runs and the second by 32 runs. But the UAE gave good account of themselves in both the matches against an experienced, Test-playing nation.
“The two games were a confidence-booster for us. We didn’t lose by a big margin and even while bowling we did not give too much of margins and easy boundaries Bangladesh had the partnerships going and we learn from that and also correct the smaller mistakes,” Rizwan said, elaborating on the mistakes: “We missed a few half-chances, we need to convert them. Then it will make a big difference,” he concluded.
New kit and logo
Meanwhile, the Emirates Cricket Board on Thursday unveiled their stunning new logo and kit.
Zayed Abbas, ECB Member who will also head the UAE squad to Australia, said: “Our Board is extremely proud of the new UAE Cricket logo, which denotes a rich history and honours the deep roots of our sport across the UAE, and, while we have retained core design-elements we have embraced a dynamic shift of the primary colours to symbolise our progressive future, and to better align with today’s sports and business landscape,” according to the ECB website.
While the logo’s key elements remain untouched, the colour palette incorporates a ‘Gold and Sophisticated’ look, which aims to honour and aspire to the vision of our nation. Exemplifying confidence and elegance, the newly re-energised logo now proudly sits on a rich magenta and vibrant blue jersey, colours which have been ‘inspired by UAE’s beautiful winter’.