Dougie Brown confident UAE's Rameez Shahzad 'will be fit' for ODI series in Zimbabwe

Key batsman nursing hairline fracture of finger sustained in attempting a catch in 50-over match against USA

UAE batsman Rameez Shahzad will be hoping to return to Zimbabwe for an ODI series against the hosts. Courtesy ICC
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The UAE are confident Rameez Shahzad will be fit to return from a hairline fracture of a finger to take up his place in the squad for the planned tour of Zimbabwe.

A series of four one-day internationals in Harare in April has been spoken about for some while now.

Although the fixtures are yet to be officially announced, the national team’s intensive programme of matches this month is geared to readying the side for that trip.

The planned series would represent the first time UAE has been hosted for a bilateral series by a Test-playing nation.

As such, places on the flight to Harare are dearly sought after by the players – and especially so for Rameez.

Were the injury, sustained in attempting a catch in the 50-over match against United States last week, to rule him out of travelling, it would mean he has missed all seven of the UAE’s one-day internationals so far this year.

Given the relatively meagre amount of ODI fixtures the UAE get, in comparison to Full Member countries, the UAE players never want to miss an opportunity to play in one.

Rameez is a pillar of the batting line up, and scored a century and a half-century when the UAE played in the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe last year.

“He has been playing really well so it is disappointing not to have him, but he has a nick in the bone,” Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, said.

“He will be fit for Zimbabwe, we just need to get him back going again, and hopefully he can start hitting balls pretty soon and start getting back on track for the trip.”

In Rameez’s absence, the UAE missed out on completing a full set of wins against all the opposition they have faced during a busy month of matches when they lost to Lancashire on Sunday.

The national team have beaten Surrey, United States, and a T10 select XI in matches across various formats over the past 10 days.

Dubai, March, 24, 2019: Muhammad Usman of UAE plays a shot during their match against Lancashire at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Satish Kumar/ For the National / Story by Paul Radley
Mohammed Usman of the UAE scored 21 against Lancashire at the ICC Academy in Dubai on Sunday. Satish Kumar for The National

They lost to Lancashire in a 50-over match at the ICC Academy, though, after a fine stand between Brook Guest (90 not out) and Rob Jones (84 not out) took the county side to a four-wicket win.

“It was disappointing in that a lot of players got starts, but nobody put in a big contribution,” Brown said of the UAE’s innings of 230-8.

“Then at 60-4, one more wicket and you would say you are absolutely winning this game. We had a couple of half-chances, but from there Lancashire played really well.”

The United States continued their fine form on tour in Dubai as they completed a 3-0 cleansweep of the UAE development XI, with a 61-run win at The Sevens.