UAE's Esha Oza relishing the prospect of England challenge this summer

Denzil Pinto 16:07 24/05/2018
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England bound: Esha Oza

UAE’s Esha Oza says she’s excited that she will be testing herself against England’s best players after being called up to the ICC’s Global Development Squad later this year.

The 19-year-old all-rounder was recommended to the sport’s governing body by the Emirates Cricket Board following a superb domestic campaign and will join 12 other players from Ireland, the Netherlands, PNG, Uganda and Scotland for the 15-21 July tour.

Oza will travel to England on the back of an impressive season where the Desert Cubs player finished as the joint highest wicket-taker (eight) and run-scorer (337) in the ECB Women’s National League. She also hit a maiden century in the competition.

During the UK trip, which follows the Women’s World T20 Qualifier in the Netherlands, the ICC squad will get the exposure of playing England’s Super League sides.

“I was a bit surprised but I’m really excited as this is the first time the ICC development squad is happening,” said Oza. “I will be playing cricket with different players from different countries, so it’s all very exciting for me.”

Having studied in England for two years in 2003, Oza never got the chance to play cricket but is looking forward to enhancing her skills and knowledge at the ‘home of cricket’.

“Although I lived in England before when I was younger, this will be the first time that I’ll be playing cricket,” she added. “It’s very exciting because England is a big cricketing nation and it is the home of cricket so it’s a great chance for me to develop as a player.”

The initiative, which is a partnership between the ICC and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), hopes it can provide exposure to teams outside the top-eight ranked sides who feature in the ICC Women’s Championship in their bid to make the World Twenty20Is more competitive in the coming years.

And Oza believes it’s a great step that will only boost women’s cricket. “It’s a great move as we will be playing against strong English sides will be very beneficial,” she added. “As a player from an Associate nation, we don’t get to play too many matches and this is real opportunity to play and train with them. We will learn a lot of new things on how to play the game and get a chance to improve.”

Despite being the only UAE player to be selected, Oza is hopeful more of her international team-mates can follow in her footsteps.

“This should be the beginning. If they have this every year, perhaps there will be more. Netherlands have two players and hopefully more UAE players can be given a chance over time.”

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