ILT20: Tanish Suri’s remarkable rise continues with Desert Vipers call up

Wicketkeeper, 18, drafted in to cover for Azam Khan for start of second season of UAE franchise competition

Tanish Suri starred for the UAE at the Under-19 Asia Cup, where the team reached the final. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Tanish Suri’s dizzying ascent in cricket over the past month has continued after he was drafted into the Desert Vipers squad for the start of the DP World International League T20.

The Dubai-based university student will cover for Azam Khan, who will miss the opening game of the campaign as he is on international duty with Pakistan in New Zealand.

When Azam arrives, along with Pakistan captain Shaheen Afridi, Suri will drop out of the official squad for the competition.

However, the franchise are likely to retain him as part of their training group, with a view to him returning as and when other availability issues arise.

They have also involved Dhruv Parashar, Suri’s UAE Under 19 teammate, in an unofficial capacity ahead of the start of the campaign this weekend.

Parashar was part of the Vipers squad last season. He remains a prospect they regard highly, even if there was not space in their official squad for him this time around.

Suri’s elevation is another landmark in his rapid rise. The wicketkeeper, who studies accountancy and finance at Heriot-Watt University in Dubai, was one of the standout players as the UAE stunned Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the Under 19 Asia Cup last month.

After the UAE finished runners up in that competition, he was rewarded with a debut for the senior team in their T20I series against Bangladesh in Sharjah at the turn of the year.

The Vipers registered him with the league on Tuesday, and Suri said he is thrilled to be part of it.

“I’m really excited, it’s a dream come true,” Suri said. “I cannot wait to link up with the squad and work alongside the great players we have.

“I know I have a lot of learning to do but alongside those players and with the coaching staff, it will be great to be involved.”

Whether Suri makes it onto the field for the Vipers’ opening fixture against Abu Dhabi Knight Riders on Sunday is dependent on the availability of Dinesh Chandimal.

The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper could be set for Test duty with his national team against Afghanistan.

Suri’s recruitment takes the number of UAE-based players in the Vipers squad to five. Rohan Mustafa and Ali Naseer were regular starters in their XI last season.

They have also added Aryan Lakra and Karthik Meiyappan for the new season.

“[Suri] is an exciting young player and the fact he has been selected at UAE senior level at 18 years of age shows we are not the only ones to recognise his ability,” Tom Moody, Viper’s director of cricket, said.

“Tanish will add to our wicketkeeping depth while we have some movement throughout the tournament.

“Opting for an additional UAE player is something we are proud of as a franchise. It shows our commitment in helping to develop the game here in the UAE.”

Updated: January 17, 2024, 5:49 AM