Hassan Khan Eisakhil says he would be “more than happy” to represent UAE if selected.
The 17-year-old batter is a resident of Ajman and a member of the Sharjah Cricket Academy.
He has been playing senior men’s cricket in the UAE for some time now, while a number of his age-group colleagues have already graduated to the senior national team.
However, Eisakhil also has a strong allegiance elsewhere. He is essentially Afghan cricket royalty, as the son of that country’s great all-rounder Mohammed Nabi.
While Nabi is in India preparing to start his third World Cup for Afghanistan against Bangladesh in Dharamshala on Saturday, Eisakhil is back in Dubai trying to make his own way in the game.
He is playing for Thunderbolts in the International League T20 development tournament in Dubai.
The competition provides a platform for locally based players to promote their skills to the six franchises of the main event, which will take place in January and February next year.
Not all of the players involved are qualified to play for the UAE as yet, but all had to signal their intention to play for the national team if the chance does come their way in the future.
Eisakhil said he would be proud if he was selected for his country of residence.
“I’m happy to be playing in this tournament as it is a very good opportunity to play with better players and get a chance to try for the main ILT20,” Eisakhil said.
“I am living here, working hard and doing my best in UAE cricket.
“It would be a very happy moment if the cricket board approached me and asked me to play a game.
“I would be more than happy to serve UAE as we live here, we don’t live in Afghanistan. It would make me proud.”
Eisakhil would qualify to play for the UAE on the basis of the ICC’s three-year-residency rule.
ICC rules also stipulate that it would not rule him out of playing for Afghanistan if he did feel the lure of his homeland in the future.
Because Afghanistan are a full member of the ICC, he could continue playing for an associate nation without any coolling off period if he was then picked by them.
However, he feels an affinity with the UAE, and players such as his age-group peer Aayan Khan, who has already established himself as a regular in the senior national team.
“Aayan is a friend of mine and we have played together for a few years,” Eisakhil said.
“It is not about how young you are, it is about whether you can perform in this kind of tournament. Whoever performs on a platform like this deserves their chance.
“I have this opportunity and I am trying my best. It would be great to play in season two of ILT20 and I am working hard for that.”
Eisakhil has no plans to travel to India to watch Nabi in action at the World Cup, as he is focused on his own development in the game instead.
“My dad is over there, he is happy, and my prayers are with him, but I am trying to focus on my career,” he said.
“After this tournament there is a D50 tournament, and I am focused on doing well in that and my cricket.”