UAE cricket
UAE captain Muhammad Waseem and Asif Khan played a pivotal role in UAE's seven-wicket win over New Zealand on Saturday in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

New Delhi: Indian spin veteran Ravichandran Ashwin lauded UAE for their win over New Zealand in the second T20I, saying that the franchise T20 leagues have done a great job of turning the fortunes of non-Test-playing, non-mainstream cricketing nations.

Skipper Muhammad Waseem led from the front as UAE scripted a stunning win over New Zealand in the second T20I in Dubai on Saturday to level the three-match series.

Ashwin in his tweet pointed out when star Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was playing in these T20 leagues worldwide, Afghanistan was not considered to a force in cricket and was not feared. But now, due to exposure to world-class facilities, and international-level talent, it has changed for them.

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Ravichandran Ashwin feels what franchisee cricket has succeeded in doing after UAE defeated New Zealand. Image Credit: AFP

“UAE beating New Zealand is a big achievement and it’s also showing us what franchisee cricket has succeeded in doing. There is hope for the next generation cricketer coming from countries that aren’t mainstream Test nations and that’s good news for the game. When @rashidkhan_19broke into the IPL, Afghans weren’t a feared cricketing nation at world cups but now no one can refuse that fact.

The future may well see other nations having representations at the IPL and turning the fortunes of the game in their respective countries. Well done UAE #UAEvsNZ,” tweeted Ashwin.

UAE players like skipper Waseem, Fahad Nawaz, Aryan Lakra, Chirag Suri etc have played franchise T20 leagues, most notably, the inaugural International League T20, which was held earlier this year in January-February and was sanctioned by UAE Cricket.

It saw UAE players play with or against international stars like Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Wanindu Hasaranga, Alex Hales, Rovman Powell, Trent Boult, Moeen Ali, Dasun Shanaka, Dawid Malan among other franchise league regulars worldwide.