Captain Singh says Under 19 World Cup hosts in ‘complete harmony’

Singh says UAE headed in right direction since Aaqib took over as coach

Rohit Singh says the UAE are in perfect harmony ahead of the ICC Under 19 World Cup. Satish Kumar / The National
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Rohit Singh, 20, is the captain and the longest-serving member of the UAE Under 19s side. He talks to Amith Passela about the UAE’s cricket prospects and his own personal ambitions.

qWhat are your thoughts on being selected for the senior national team in the World Twenty20 Cup in Bangladesh next month?

aIt is a good feeling, because I have performed in some of the club games for the Emirates Cricket Board [ECB] and the UAE U19. This is something that everyone wants to achieve, so I feel a bit fortunate to be in the senior team, particularly in a World Cup.

And the responsibility of captaining the team in the U19 World Cup?

I have been playing for the UAE age group team from 2007 and then U19 and the ECB. I don’t feel any pressure in leading the team as I get on well with all my teammates, who have been very supportive at all times. It is also an honour to be the captain in the UAE’s first age-group World Cup team.

Is there any rivalry between the players from different emirates?

There is absolutely no rivalry. Many of the players know each other well, although they are from different emirates. There is complete harmony and the bonding is excellent.

Given the opportunity, would you like to pursue on a full-time career in cricket?

Of course. I think it is everybody’s dream in this squad to play full-time cricket. It is the sport we all love and to be able to play full-time would be awesome.

How are you coping with your academics?

I am in my first-year electrical engineering degree at the Heriot-Watt University in Dubai. Education is also important and many professional cricketers have a degree.

Does cricket affect your studies?

It is tough, particularly when we have a camp for nearly six months preparing for the U19 World Cup. We attend classes in the morning and train in the evenings. I go for training straight after classes. It is a bit tiring, but when you love the game, a bit of sacrifice need to be done. I think if we can focus on these two, and if you love the game, I am sure we can achieve our objectives.

How do you see cricket developing in the UAE?

I was born in Dubai and would like to see the UAE cricket go up. There has been tremendous development of the infrastructures and the game, and the results are there to be seen.

Aaqib Javed has done well as a coach. What difference has he made for the UAE to reach higher levels?

Since Aaqib took charge, cricket has taken a turn for the better and is going in the right direction. He has made us mentally stronger and made us believe that we can compete with the best. I have also improved my game because of him.