Abu Dhabi: Teenager Ethan D’Souza’s stunning domestic form has earned him a first call-up to the UAE senior men’s national team and will be part of the 22-player squad for the One Day International series against West Indies to begin at Sharjah Stadium on June 4.

The Grade 12 Abu Dhabi Indian School student, who discovered his selection after checking his phone when he left school, has recently captained Team Abu Dhabi to U19 ECB Inter-Emirates glory.

Sparkling domestic form

“We had a message from the coach in our WhatsApp group and since then, I’ve just tried to soak it all in,” said 17-year-old D’Souza, who trains at Zayed Cricket Academy. “I told my mum and dad first and they were just as surprised as I was. This was what our goal was, especially for my dad, so I’m happy to have done it for us all.”

Ethan’s run of sparkling domestic form earned him a spot in a pre-selection senior team training camp and his call-up from Emirates Cricket Board follows his UAE U19 debut earlier this year. Ethan now plans to continue learning in the senior environment.

“Training has been great fun,” said D’Souza. “It’s been very easy to gel with the squad and everyone’s been helpful. It doesn’t feel like I’m a junior and I’m now really excited to play with everyone. My goal now is to look forward to this series, to win it and learn from both my team and our opponents how to play 50-over cricket.

Ethan joins Figy

“I’d also like to thank all of my coaches throughout the years at Zayed Cricket Academy. It’s been a long time since I joined at seven-years-old, and I have now achieved my initial goal. They’ve given me a platform to showcase my skills and, although it’s already been a long journey, there’s so much more to come.”

Ethan is joined in the UAE squad by ZCA graduate, Jonathan Figy.

Like Ethan, Jonathan is a stylish left-handed batter. He recently returned to the capital from studies in the UK and struck two half-centuries for Team Abu Dhabi in the recently concluded D50 tournament. He was with ZCA from the age of eight to 19 and the pair’s selection marks a proud moment for everyone associated with the academy.

Clear pathway programme

Mervyn Pereira, Manager Zayed Cricket Academy, said: “Ethan is one of the brightest teenage prospects in the UAE and has worked extremely hard on his fitness and all-round game the last few years. Jonathan has paid extra attention to his fitness and fielding in the last one year, areas that the coaches pointed out he needed to improve. The call-up to the UAE squad is a proud moment for us at the academy and is an immediate return on our clear pathway programme.”

Matt Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub, which hosts the ZCA commented: “This talented duo are now academy role models. Their achievements are testament to ZCA’s training capabilities and will spur other youngsters on.”

Both Ethan and Jonathan will be hoping to do enough to impress during the West Indies series, with the UAE’s ICC World Cup Qualifying campaign starting in Zimbabwe later this month.

Star Sports to cover live

The three-match UAE-West Indies ODI series will be broadcast live on the Star Sports’ network for the Indian sub-continent for linear and Fancode for OTT in India. The series will be significant for both sides as it is set to provide invaluable practice to the players ahead of the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe next month.

The two teams will leave for the all-important tournament, which will confirm the remaining two spots for the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, right after the conclusion of the ODI series.

General Secretary Emirates Cricket Board Mubashshir Usmani: “We are delighted to partner with Star Sports and Fancode for the UAE-West Indies ODI series. The UAE cricket team has a growing fan base around the world and we are excited to present our stars to the cricket loving Indian audience whose passion for cricket remains unmatched. I am sure the fans will enjoy this series which is being played at an iconic venue that has staged the most ODIs in history.”