Yodhin Punja to fly back to Dubai this summer and press his case for UAE selection

Denzil Pinto 17:00 30/06/2018
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Playing for the UAE is still in Yodhin Punja's sights.

Young pacer Yodhin Punja, who last featured for the UAE two years ago, will fly to Dubai and train with the senior national team over the summer in his bid of resurrecting his international career.

Punja, 19, made his senior debut in the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup defeat to Hong Kong in November 2015, but the last of his three appearances came against Scotland in August 2016.

In that summer, he moved to England after being awarded a cricket scholarship at Claremont High School, but since that move Punja has only featured for the Under-19 squad with his last appearance coming in October 2016.

Due to his age, he’s ineligible to play for the youth team again and despite being based more than 3,000 miles away in England, Punja is keen to add to his senior caps.

He will fly to the UAE next month where he will train daily with the senior players from the middle of July until September after being in contact with head coach Dougie Brown.

“Dougie called me about two months ago and we had a conversation on the possibility of playing for the UAE and that was a big positive for me,” said Punja, who became the youngest UAE international, aged 16, to play first-class and ODI cricket.

“I have been in touch with them over the past three months about my progress and am looking forward to going back and getting back into the whole setup,” added the pacer, who has played club cricket in England.

Although it will be just training, Punja wants to use this opportunity to send another reminder of his potential and hopefully earn a recall to the senior team.

“To hear from Dougie Brown, who is the head coach is very encouraging and gives me hope of the possibility of me of playing for the UAE one day even though I’m based in the UK,” he added.

“This for me is an opportunity for the players and coaches to say ‘wow we could really do with someone like this in our team’. That is what I’m trying to get out of them. I have been working really hard and it’s been a long time since people in the UAE have seen me bowl. I just want to make sure they see the improvement I’ve made and impressed with it. For me, I want it to be a good development phase for me.”

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