Muhammad Waseem
UAE openers Muhammad Waseem, who celebrates his half-century, and Vriitya Aravind gave the hosts a strong start against Afghanistan. Image Credit: Courtesy: ECB Twitter

Dubai: It’s time for UAE cricketers to switch into the longer formats and coach Robin Singh feels that the batters have to step up for the challenge when the hosts take on Namibia in the two-match ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 (CWCL2) to be played at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday and Saturday.

“Some of the experience gained from the ILT20 has rubbed off during the Twenty20 clashes against Afghanistan, We narrowly missed winning the last match, but need to take that confidence forward into the matches,” Robin Singh, Emirates Cricket’s Director of Cricket and Head Coach, told Gulf News.

“Importantly, it’s a 50-over game and you need to reset and understand that you need to bat accordingly. Not worried about bowling, batting needs to step up.”

Important series

The postponed matches from 2022 are key to UAE’s qualification to the 2023 50-over World Cup in India. The UAE, who played in the 2022 Twenty20 World Cup Australia, need to win almost all of the remaining clashes to book a place in the showpiece.

“This is a very important series for UAE. We have a very demanding 6 weeks ahead and very clear goals to achieve, starting with securing the win in these two-matches (against Namibia). We are looking forward to getting this campaign under way,” added the former Indian all-rounder. “We have to take one match at a time.”

However, the head coach is confident that the experience gained from the ILT20 will help a large extend to overcome the opposition.

“Most of the players got the experience playing the international cricketers to learn what it takes to be professional and understand how to perform in these sort of conditions, especially against quality opposition.”

Crucial factor

One of the main advantages of the ILT20 is the form exhibited by UAE opener Muhammad Waseem, who won the Blue Belt for the best UAE player. Waseem, who time and again showed his big-match temperament, will be a crucial factor in UAE’s fortunes in the qualifiers. The opener is also in impressive form, scoring 33, 91 and 75 against Afghanistan in the Twenty20 series. Though this is a 50-over contest, Robin feels Waseem has been a lead in Twenty20 and the team has lot more potential.

“Waseem has been the lead in the T20, but we want to make sure that everyone in the team is up and ready to play the 50-over format,” Robin added. “We have to play to our potential, that’s the key.”

The 14-member team for Namibia series:

C.P Rizwaan, Muhammad Waseem, Vriitya Aravind, Alishan Sharafu, Chirag Suri, Rohan Mustafa, Rahul Bhatia, Hazrat Billal, Aayan Khan, Karthik Meiyappan, Junaid Siddique, Zahoor Khan, Sabir Ali, and Asif Khan.