UAE youngster Faraazuddin's journey from spectator to Gayle's teammate at Abu Dhabi T10

Allrounder Mohammed Faraazuddin says it is a dream come true to be in a squad with some of cricket's biggest stars at Team Abu Dhabi

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When Mohammed Faraazuddin found out he had been selected to play in the same team as the likes of Chris Gayle and Liam Livingstone, his first thought was to rush home and celebrate with his parents.

They had been the ones who told him he had been picked for Team Abu Dhabi in the Abu Dhabi T10 player draft.

And yet they insisted he stay on to finish the training session he was at. After all, he had not got an opportunity like this in the first place by cutting corners at training.

“I had left my phone in the car and when I finished batting I went to get it,” the 20-year-old allrounder said.

“I had 20 missed calls. I picked it up and my mum said, ‘You have been picked for Team Abu Dhabi’. My mum and dad were quite emotional and very proud as well.

“Then my friends started calling up and said, ‘You’re going to be in a team with Chris Gayle and Liam Livingstone’. They are people I have always looked up to. It is a dream come true.”

For the remainder of that training session he was a little distracted, he says, given the news he had received.

“I finished training and gave my mum a tight hug,” Faraazuddin said.

“I cannot express how that feeling was. I feel like I have a long journey ahead of me, as I have to prove myself, especially within the UAE set up. I will keep my head down, focus, and try to reach my goals.”

Faraazuddin was born in Chennai, but has lived in the UAE since he was brought here with his family as a result of his father’s work in IT distribution.

He is a graduate of the UAE side who played at the Under 19 World Cup in January 2020, and is now a part of the senior national team’s wider squad.

Fair to say the Abu Dhabi T10, which starts on Friday at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, is the highest profile event he will have played in yet – which he is well aware of having attended as a spectator in the past.

“I’ve watched T10 since its first season in Sharjah,” Faraazuddin said.

“I was watching these guys hitting it all over the park, and there were big stars, like Lasith Malinga, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle – you name it, they were playing.

“So getting selected in the fifth season of T10, I can’t express it in words. I’m just very excited, very nervous, and I hope I will be able to handle the pressure.”

He says he was put at ease shortly after being selected when he received a message from Paul Farbrace, the former T20 World Cup winning coach who is in charge of Team Abu Dhabi.

Faraazuddin’s own coach, Shiraz Ahmed of Defenders Cricket Academy, believes his young charge will thrive in a dressing room with some of the stars of the sport.

“He is a class guy, a good learner, and he understands the game,” Shiraz said.

“He has a very clever mindset, he is a brilliant thinker, and he has a good future ahead of him.

“There are very big names in his franchise. He can go there, share the dressing room with them, and try to get as much out of them as he can.”

Updated: November 16, 2021, 5:50 AM