Dubai: UAE under-19 cricket team had a stunning run in the Asia Cup, defeating Sri Lanka and Pakistan en route to the final. Despite the winning run, constant improvement is the key to maintain the success rate and stay the top.
Not sitting on the laurels, coach Mudassar Nazar was quick to identify the areas needed for improvement and said he had offered his suggestions to the Emirates Cricket Board. The key among them was the need for players to get exposure to longer version of the game, which helps them to play the waiting game and improve their patience when things are not going their way.
“I will go straight to the point. It is the same problem with the national team as well as the under-19 and under-16 teams. There are far too many Twenty20 matches happening in this region and these guys play a lot in those. Hence, they play lots of aerial shots. There is a craze about Twenty20 and somehow we need to curb that. We could control the hitting instincts of the boys coming into the academy who are under the ECB contract for the national team, but there is a lot of damage being done to batting in the region by playing Twenty20 cricket,” former Pakistan opener, who has played 76 Tests and 122 One-Day Internationals for Pakistan, told Gulf News.
In a move to address the issue Nazar said he has proposed the ECB to conduct a two-day tournament in the UAE. “We had planned to run a two-day event last year, but we couldn’t do it. This again, I am going to present to the ECB. I am adamant that this the way forward and hopefully, this time they will deliver,” he added.
Gulf News learnt that there a plans afoot to hold one two-day event in March, after the conclusion of the ILT20.
Looking back at the impressive performance by the UAE under-19 team, the 67-year-old coach was elated with the way they approached the continental tournament, winning against Test-playing nations Sri Lanka in the league phase and then Pakistan in the semi-finals.
“The boys were overawed by the crowd and support Bangladesh team got in the final. It’s been very positive tournament for us. We have made great strides and rubbing shoulders with all these Test nations is an honour. On top of it, winning a couple of games have been really positive for us. Going forward, we need to hang on to these boys maybe expose them more to international cricket as well as domestic cricket. I’m sure we would be prospering in this region,” he added.
Good individual performances
Talking about the individuals in the team, the coach praised Dhruv Parashar, who scored an unbeaten 25 in the final apart from claiming six wickets against Bangladesh in the league game earlier, skipper Aayan Afzal Khan and pacers Omid Rehman and Ayman Ahamed.
“Dhruv has done well with a couple of good performances and showed that he is a good fielder, especially slip catching. Aayan has contributed not just as a player, but as a captain as well. He is growing in the game and it is good to see that. The two seam bowlers were good and we also have Harshit Shetty,” he added. In a bid to strengthen the pace attack, the coach has got a plan to increase the numbers.
“We managed to bring in a lot of spin bowlers, but the fast bowlers were elusive. We have got these three fast bowlers to work on and there a couple more in the under-16 age group, who are very tall. So in the next 12 to 18 months they will come good,” he concluded.