Theertha Satish proud to represent UAE at U19 World Cup

National team open their campaign against Scotland in South Africa on Saturday

UAE batter Theertha Satish. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Theertha Satish says her pioneering UAE side have already achieved their dream just by featuring in the Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.

But the national team captain is still hopeful they can make an impact by causing some shocks on their debut on the global stage.

The side became the first female team from the UAE to make it to a World Cup when they made it through the qualifying event in Kuala Lumpur last summer.

They will start their campaign in the main event against Scotland in Benoni on Saturday. That is followed by group games against the might of India and hosts South Africa.

“Representing your country at any level is a proud feeling,” Theertha, the opening batter and captain, said.

“We are proud to have qualified and hope we see the rewards of all the practice we have done.

“There are a mix of feelings. Nervousness is there, but we want to enjoy the moment and soak up the experience like a sponge.

“At the end of the day we are so lucky to be playing a game we all love to play, especially at such a level. Honestly, it is a dream for everyone.

“Everyone is super excited to play against the strongest sides, and we are all looking forward to it.”

Theertha has already made a name for herself in senior international cricket. After making her debut for the national team in November 2021, it was 25 matches across senior and age-group cricket before she tasted defeat.

As the outstanding batter in the U19 side, she knows her wicket will be prized, but she said she feels no added pressure.

“I don’t think I have to prove myself to anyone,” she said. “I just want to go out there and enjoy the game, and do what I love doing.

“I don’t feel under pressure. Being the underdogs in the competition is exciting, because there are no expectations on us.

“If we follow the processes right, we don’t give up till the last moment, and we push for every ball, I thought that would represent success.

“Prioritising process over results is what would represent success. We are here to compete and our aim is to win. That is without a doubt.

“We will hope for the best, but be ready for the worst. That is how we are approaching it.”

Najeeb Amar, the UAE coach, said the side’s appearance on the global stage is reward for the rapid progress made in the women’s game over the past year.

“UAE women enjoyed a very successful 2022, and through these successes we are now part of history by competing in the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup,” Najeeb said.

“[It is a] collective reward for all the hard work each individual has invested. However, we have no intent on resting on these successes.

“Our goal is to compete to the best of our abilities, to push those abilities, and finish our group matches in the top three and proceed to the Super Sixes."

Under-19 World Cup, South Africa

UAE’s Group D fixtures

Saturday, January 14 v Scotland

Monday, January 16 v India

Wednesday, January 18 v South Africa

UAE squad: Theertha Satish (captain), Vaishnave Mahesh, Samaira Dharnidharka, Lavanya Keny, Sanchin Singh, Rinitha Rajith, Indhuja Nandakumar, Siya Gokhale, Mahika Gaur, Avanee Sunil Patil, Archara Supriya, Rishitha Rajith, Geethika Jyothis, Sanjana Ramesh, Ishitha Zehra

Updated: January 14, 2023, 4:49 AM