Youngster Fahad Nawaz thrilled by call-up to UAE senior team

Denzil Pinto 20:10 17/04/2018
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Fahad Nawaz, the Under-19 captain who led the UAE in the Asia Cup, has been named in the senior squad for the first qualifying stage of the 2020 World T20.

Nawaz, 18, was skipper of the national team that reached the Youth Asia Cup last November after winning all four matches in the Western Region Qualifiers.

He scored two half-centuries in that competition and having continued to impress in the domestic circuit, the Emirates Cricket Board selectors rewarded him with a place in the 14-man squad for the Asian Sub Regional Qualifier in Kuwait.

The batsman faces a tough task in breaking into the starting 11 but says the call-up will be a learning curve.

“I am very happy and thankful to have been called up for the senior team,” he said. “This is like a dream come true for me.

“I was more surprised about being called up and I really cannot explain in words my happiness  because that was my only goal in life and I am genuinely very happy.

“During the tournament, I want to keep challenging myself and learn how to adapt to different conditions, so this is another step towards that.

“It’s only going to put me in good stead and getting to understand how they play. It will be good for me to learn from the seniors.”

He added: “I’ve worked a lot on my batting and bowling skills and also my fitness. I have to thank Shahzad Altaf at Young Talent Cricket Academy for the great support.”

Head coach Dougie Brown says he’s been impressed by Nawaz and hinted more youngsters could follow in his footsteps for future matches and tournaments.

“Clearly he had a very good Under-19 Asia Cup and we know that he has been playing very well since he’s come back from there,” the 47-year-old said. “We think he’s a young talented player and with our next global tournament being the 2020 World Twenty, we see this tournament as a development opportunity for maybe a couple of players to get really valuable experience.”

The UAE will take on Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives and Saudi Arabia with the top three sides qualifying for the next stage of the tournament.

The national selectors have kept faith with the majority of the players from the World Cup Qualifiers with senior players Ahmed Raza and Shaiman Anwar rested for the tour.

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