Abu Dhabi: Despite having experienced customers like West Indies pacers Kieron Pollard and Sheldon Cottrell in his armoury, Deccan Gladiators captain Shane Watson picked UAE bowler Zahoor Khan to bowl the last over against Qalandars in the second qualifier of the Aldar Properties Abu Dhabi T10 tournament on Saturday.
Zahoor paid back — giving away just 10 runs to ensure a 12-run win over Qalandars and clinch Gladiators a place in the final.
When Gulf News asked Watson about what made him show faith in Zahoor to bowl the last over, the Australian veteran said: “Zahoor is a highly skilled bowler. Lendl Simmons is a world class player but he could not get his bat on and Zahoor got him out. I am seeing such incredible skills for the first time and am fortunate to have players like them.”
Watson went on to point out that the UAE can benefit from T10 like youngsters in India got benefited from Indian Premier League (IPL). “T10 is a great exposure for local UAE players and also for Afghanistan players and some associate countries. It’s an amazing experience for them. It’s due to the IPL that the depth of talent in India is increasing. It has been growing significantly since 2009 when young Indian players got to mix with world class players from around the world.”
When asked about how he felt about the break in the T10, Zahoor said: “This is a good platform for UAE players as we are playing only domestic cricket most of the time. We get to learn from such tournaments and we do our best and show to them. I wanted to give my best and did.”
Zahoor, en employee of Al Nabooda Insurance Brokers (ANIB), is delighted with the tips he got from many international stars. He got advice from even Northern Warriors and former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy. “If we can get to play in such leagues, it is so good. Look at the players whom I got to mix with like Andre Russell, Chris Green and Darren Sammy who all play in many leagues around the world,” said Zahoor, who hails from Faisalabad and has played in 15 ODIs and 18 T20 Internationals for the UAE.