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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

Future of UAE cricket looks bright at rising stars tournament in Ajman - in pictures

Teenage spinner Aayan Afzal Khan just one of the players to catch the eye at Karwan Rising Stars F40

The UAE might have suffered a miserable end to their Covid-disrupted one-day international series against Ireland in Abu Dhabi this week.

But the future for the game here appears bright if the action at the Karwan Rising Stars F40 competition in Ajman is anything to go by.

The national team were thrashed by 112 runs after their batting capitulated against Irish at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Monday.

Up the coast in Ajman, a new competition set up by a private benefactor, Babar Iqbal, to give exposure to the country’s leading young players has been underway.

Just as he did at the Emirates D20 tournament in Dubai in December, teenage spinner Aayan Afzal Khan has caught the eye already.

Playing for Hawks against Lions on Tuesday evening, Aayan – who only turned 15 in November – took 4-30 from his eight overs.

He then scored 49 opening the batting as the Hawks chased the 232 required for victory with an over to spare.

His excellence with the ball was noteworthy for the fact senior national team batsmen Fahad Nawaz and Rameez Shahzad were among his victims.

Before he fell Rameez, who is the only UAE player to date to have scored two centuries in ODI cricket but was not part of the squad to face, scored a 43-ball 55.

Published: January 20, 2021 10:11 AM

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