UAE's campaign will be entrusted on the shoulders of skipper Ahmed Raza as they return to international fixtures next month. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Kolkata: Skipper Ahmed Raza, Rohan Mustafa and opener Chirag Suri are among the 10 cricketers who have been awarded Central Contracts for one year by the Emirates Cricket Board on Thursday as they brace for a return to international fixtures once again. Altogether 20 players, 10 of whom have been retained on part-time contracts, were named by ECB.

“The Selection Committee is delighted with the number of young and enthusiastic players we identified for this group. Every one of them bring a broad range of complementing skills required to strongly represent the UAE at both the associate and international stages,” said Dr Tayeb Kamali, chairman of ECB selection committee, in a statement.

“As we eagerly wait for ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 pathway to recommence, opportunities such as the Emirates D10 and Emirates D20 tournaments will help prepare this group into a cohesive and a high-performing team.” added Dr Kamali.

Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary of ECB said: “Such an increase in contracted player-numbers is a very rewarding milestone for our Board, and one we are committed to building upon to ensure that UAE Cricket has a good group players to call on as we move toward restarting a regular playing calendar.”

The UAE men’s national team, meanwhile, will get a taste of the 50-overs format once again when they take on Ireland in a four-match ODI series in January, 2021. Matches will be played January 8, 10, 12 and 14 at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi with all matches live streamed by joint partner ITW Consulting.

Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice Chairman, ECB said; “We are thrilled to be in a position to announce this fixture against ICC Full Member Ireland. Collectively, our management teams have been working tirelessly to bring this series to fruition in Abu Dhabi and we extend our sincere gratitude to all involved. We are extremely thankful to Cricket Ireland for their commitment to this series and to Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and the UAE authorities for supporting this tournament.”

Usmani echoed similar sentiments when he said; “This is a great opportunity for our men’s side to play against a Full Member, one we have a very competitive history with. Both boards understand the importance of providing opportunities for our players to maintain their competitive edge, at an international level, as we move through these times and prepare for the restart of our international calendars.”

Central contract roster

Full time

Rohan Mustafa

Ahmed Raza

Mohammad Usman

Chirag Suri

Muhammad Boota

Sultan Ahmad

Zahoor Khan

Junaid Siddique

Waheed Ahmad

Zawar Farid

Part time

Aryan Lakra

Ansh Tandon

Karthik Meiyappan

Rahul Bhatia

Alishan Tandon

CP Rizwaan

Basil Hamid

Matti Ullah

Fahad Nawaz

Sanchit Sharma