The Newsroom previews the teams of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Today, United Arab Emirates.
Pool B: India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, West Indies, Zimbabwe
It has been a long time between drinks for the Middle Eastern nation who just scraped through to make it into the series – their first in almost 20 years.
The team: Despite being born in Pakistan, Khurram Khan is proud to wear the UAE colours in cricket’s premier event. The all-rounder turns 44 in June but will play a vital role in their World Cup campaign.
The 43-year-old has gained plenty of recognition throughout the cricket community. He is a player of some note, not just in the UAE squad, but also in the international cricket community. It seems like there is still some life in the veteran. Indeed Khan comes into the tournament with a strike rate of just over 85 from six one day internationals last year. This includes an impressive one day international century in December against Afghanistan.
UAE coach Aaqib Javed is no stranger to the World Cup. Despite his new-found home in the Emirati team, he was heavily involved in Pakistan’s successful 1992 World Cup team.
Captain Mohammed Tauquir is ready for a successful tournament. One of the more obvious weaknesses in this side is their age, with both Khan and Tauquir aged 43 and the average age of the players being 32.
However, Tauquir has proven strong in the middle order batting line-up and fires some great off spinners when he gets the chance to bowl. He is still a mainstay in the side despite his age, playing 50 international matches, including five one day internationals.
Player to watch: Swapnil Patil is a big hitter of the ball and can score at a run a ball. He is definitely one of the danger men, as is opening batsman Andri Berenger. Amjad Javad and Shaiman Anwar are also held in a similar regard, but are expected to make less of an impact.
Pacemen Mohammed Naveed and Kamran Shahzad are fired up ready for the kill and Nasir Aziz is a danger man, but his controversial bowling technique may mean he won’t be allowed to bowl in the tournament.
Wicket-keeper Saqlain Haider has attracted the attention of former Australian wicket-keeper Rodney Marsh, who thinks the UAE is in safe hands behind the stumps with Haider. Amjad Ali is also good behind the wicket, but more focus is placed on him as an opening batsman.
Prediction: Eliminated in the group stage – Joseph Walz