UAE reward their U19 Asia Cup stars with senior call-ups to face Afghanistan

Parashar, Rahman and Suri among those named in squad for T20I series in Sharjah

UAE's Tanish Suri bats during the final of the Under-19s Asia Cup between the UAE and Bangladesh. Dubai International Stadium, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The UAE have named four youngsters in their 14-player squad for the three-match T20I series against Afghanistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, starting on Friday.

Dhruv Parashar, Omid Rahman and Tanish Suri come into the squad after the UAE’s historic run to the final of the Under-19 Asia Cup, while Samal Udawaththa was selected based on his domestic performances.

The Sri Lankan scored 111 in five innings in the inaugural ILT20 Development tournament in Dubai in September.

Parashar and Rahman did exceptionally well in the UAE’s U19 Asia Cup campaign. The national team defeated Sri Lanka and Pakistan before losing in the final of the age group tournament against Bangladesh in Dubai on December 17.

Parashar, the tall all-rounder who bowls off-spin, grabbed 10 wickets in the tournament and Rahman took five with his right-arm pace. Suri, the diminutive wicketkeeper-batter, racked up 163 runs across his five innings.

The T20I is the second series between the two sides in the UAE this year. The series is part of the Emirates Cricket Board’s long-term strategy of providing regular opportunities to UAE players of playing against ICC full member sides.

Afghanistan also played two 50-over warm-up games ahead of the series and came out convincing winners of both games against a UAE Falcons side. The tourists will be eager to stretch their good run of form into the shorter format of the game.

The two teams have played 10 T20Is between them with Afghanistan winning eight, and the UAE successful in a couple. The most recent series between these two sides was back in February, with the Afghans winning the three-match series 2-1.

Afghanistan last played a T20I series in July 2023, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Bangladesh. On the other hand, the UAE last played a T20I series in August and stunned New Zealand in the second game of the three-match series, winning by seven wickets. However, ultimately they lost the series 2-1.

UAE squad: Muhammad Waseem (captain), Ali Naseer, Aayan Afzal Khan, Basil Hameed, Dhruv Parashar, Khalid Shah, Muhammad Jawadullah, Junaid Siddique, Nilansh Keswani, Omid Rahman, Raja Akifullah, Samal Udawaththa, Tanish Suri and Vriitya Aravind.

UAE v Afghanistan fixtures: First T20I, December 29 at 6pm; Second: December 31 at 6pm; Third: January 2 at 6pm

UAE U19 v Bangladesh U19 - in pictures

Updated: December 28, 2023, 2:42 PM