Dubai: The UAE have the talent and potential to do well in the Asia Cup Under-19 feels Robin Singh as the hosts are ready to take on some of the top best in the continent.
In an exclusive interview, Singh, Director of Cricket of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), said: “India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are some of the stronger teams. It will be a good test for the UAE in the Asia Cup, which will be a good preparation for the World Cup to be held next year in January in the West Indies.”
Elaborating on the preparations for the tournament, Najeeb Amar, Assistant Coach of the UAE, said the boys have been preparing for 8-9 months. Initially started as a group of 30 has now come down to 15. “The boys have been playing practice matches against various opponents including UAE Seniors and at various tournaments at several venues like Ajman and ICC Academy in Dubai.”
The Emirates Cricket Board on Saturday announced the team for the Asia Cup. “This UAE U19 team is an exciting group of young talent, one that our performance team has been focused on developing, from selection, training through to match-exposure at a higher Domestic and International level. We are confident in their abilities and we eagerly await their performance against some of the best sides in Asia,” Dr Tayeb Kamali, Selection Committee Chairman, Emirates Cricket, said in a press release.
The UAE will face India in their of the eight-team tournament on December 23, then will face Afghanistan on December 25 and Pakistan on December 27 at the ICC Academy. The final will be played at the Dubai International Stadium on December 31.
Speaking about the team, Najeeb picked Aditya Shetty, Nilansh Keswani, Aryansh Sharma and Kai Smith as some of the promising players in the UAE Under-19 team.
“The team has got some very good all-rounders and 16-year-old Aayan Khan is an exciting talent to watch. We are confident with the way our guys are playing and with the home advantage, we are ready to deliver,” said a confident Najeeb.
Singh also spelt out his plans for the future with an immediate eye on the World Cup and said there are lot more opportunities for the boys here.
“We have not played too much cricket outside against other countries. But we raised the bar to make them understand the standard that they needed to achieve. However, you build on that as you keep playing and get confidence. It’s a group of fit guys and we have enough talent to execute, but it’s important how you deliver on the day,” Singh concluded.