Khurram is Key

Khurram Khan was the UAE’s most successful batsman during the ICC World Cup Qualifier.-AP

The United Arab Emirates makes a long-awaited return to the ICC 50-over World Cup after its maiden appearance in 1996.

The team will be led by veteran Mohammad Tauqir, who has recently replaced Khurram Khan. The UAE finished 11th in its earlier appearance and will be looking to better that outing, this time, in Australia and New Zealand.

Coached by former Pakistan World Cup-winner Aqib Javed the team finished second in the ICC World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand in 2014, losing to Scotland in the final.

The inclusion of players such as Swapnil Patel, Rohan Mustafa and Kamran Shazad has strengthened the side. The UAE finds itself in Pool B alongside defending champion India, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland.

Khurram Khan — one of the key players for the team during the qualifiers, scoring 581 runs in eight matches — will again be the team’s batting mainstay in testing conditions.

“You can’t describe in words the feeling. I’ve been playing for UAE since 2001 and it is an amazing feeling to help my team to qualify,” Khurram said.

“It’s a great achievement. It’s been very, very hard to make it this far. Most of us are part time cricketers — we are not professionals. This is for everyone who trusted us and believed in us.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mohammad Tauqir (captain), Khurram Khan, Amjad Ali, Amjad Javed, Andri Berenger, Fahad Alhashmi, Manjula Guruge, Kamran Shazad, Krishna Chandran, Mohammad Naveed, Nasir Aziz, Swapnil Patil (wicketkeeper), Rohan Mustafa, Saqlain Haider and Shaiman Anwar.

V. V. Subrahmanyam