Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

Cricket 'is just about bat against ball' for UAE newcomer Basil Hameed

Debutant has shown great composure in World Cup League Two and the team will be hoping to show similar grit against Scotland on Sunday

Basil Hameed of UAE during the World Cup League 2 match against USA at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National 
Basil Hameed of UAE during the World Cup League 2 match against USA at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National 

The new-look UAE team will continue their search for a first win in the new World Cup League Two when they face Scotland in the final match of their tri-series in Dubai on Sunday.

The national team was overhauled for this series in the wake of the corruption scandal that engulfed the game here in October.

Six new caps have already been handed out in the two one-day internationals they have played so far in the tri-series.

As an indicator of their freshness on the scene, almost all of the new faces stayed on for some time after their Saturday training session at the ICC Academy to watch the match between Scotland and the United States.

Any extra information on their opposition is gratefully received by players who are learning on the job.

Vriitya Aravind has been granted time off school to play in this series. Karthik Meiyappan and Jonathan Figy have set aside their university studies.

The next youngest debutant, Basil Hameed, has got time off from his office job as an assistant sales manager at Al Nabooda Insurance Brokers in order to play.

The 26-year-old batsman has betrayed few visible nerves in his two appearances so far, which brought him scores of 25 and 38 against the United States.

“It was kind of a blind thing, even though we have so much analysis in our dugout,” he said about the strategy he has taken in to the start of his international career.

“In the back of my mind was just the fact that this is a bat and ball game. All I was thinking about was trying to hit the ball, and trying to middle the ball.

“Obviously, first match nervousness was there, but it is just about bat against ball. That is all I was focused on.”

Hameed had been on the verge of playing Ranji Trophy cricket for his native Kerala before taking up an opportunity to dovetail work and cricket in Dubai four years ago.

“I was playing competitive cricket back at home, and I always wanted to do that here also,” he said.

“Luckily I got an opportunity to play on the domestic cricket circuit for ANIB. It helped me a lot to gain confidence with them, working with coach Mohsin [Arif].

“We have been working a lot, on and off the field. I have played most of the domestic tournaments and that helped me get in the side. I am pleased and honoured to be in the team.”

Hameed had been playing in a match for ANIB when he heard he had been selected for the national team.

“I was playing a match in the Sharjah when I got a message from Mr Dougie [Brown, the UAE coach] saying I had been picked,” Hameed said.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , Dec 12– 2019 :- Basil Hameed of UAE playing a shot during the World Cup League 2 cricket match between UAE vs USA held at ICC academy in Dubai. USA won the match by 98 runs. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For Sports. Story by Paul
Basil Hameed was on the verge of playing Ranji Trophy for his state team Kerala before moving to Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

“It is always an honour to represent your country. It was a very happy moment.

“My ultimate aim is just to perform for the country. Irrespective of numbers, I just want to perform in whatever opportunity I get."

Brown has been impressed by what he has seen so far from the new recruit.

“He has a fantastic manner, he is unruffled, gets on with the game, and has a very simple technique that he does really well,” Brown said of Hameed.

“And he was unflappable when the bowlers were whizzing the ball around his ears.”

Hameed and his new colleagues will face a Scotland side buoyed by a four-wicket win over the United States.

USA have been in fine form in the UAE, and looked well set to complete a series cleansweep after posting 245-9 from their 50 overs.

A fourth successive win on tour looked within their grasp when they had the Scots 188-6 with less than 10 overs left.

Josh Davey and Safyaan Sharif combined expertly to marshal the chase, though, as they shared an unbroken stand worth 58 for the seventh wicket to see their side home.

Updated: December 31, 2019 05:17 AM

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