Mohammed Wasim eyes UAE call-up after topping Emirates D10 scoring charts

The 26-year-old batsman from Pakistan made 282 runs from seven matches at the tournament

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Paul Radley. Sport. Cricket. Fujairah's Waseem Muhammad bats during the game between Fujairah and Dubai in the Emirates D10. Sunday, July 26th, 2020. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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An online livestream that attracts, at its peak, around 1,000 viewers might not exactly represent the big time.

But for Mohammed Wasim, the airtime afforded by the Emirates D10 has finally allowed for a little belated recognition.

All the powerful opening batsman is hoping for is that the right people are watching.

This tournament was organised, at short notice, to provide a platform for the country’s leading cricketers to show their skills.

Robin Singh, the UAE coach, is still holed up in India because of the travel restrictions, but is said to be tuning in, as is anyone else with a say on national team selection.

Wasim could scarcely have done much more to impress so far. After seven matches in the tournament, he had made 282 runs – six more than Vriitya Aravind at the top of the runscorer charts.

Now, the 26-year-old from Pakistan feels he is within touching distance of a first call-up to the UAE team – whenever it is they take the field next.

“When I was a boy, obviously it was my dream to play for Pakistan,” Wasim said.

“I prayed for that chance. I tried for it, but then I moved here and focused on playing for UAE.

“Here, there are amazing facilities for cricket. It is not a big country and I have been noticed for my cricket, not like in Pakistan.

“Since I have been in UAE, many people have supported me. I have scored a lot of centuries in domestic cricket, and people have taken notice of it.

“My main focus is solely to play for UAE and do well. That is my first aim.”

Wasim must feel like his chance to star on the small screen is long overdue.

He had been part of the Maratha Arabians squad which won the Abu Dhabi T10 league in front of a packed house at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, and with a vast TV audience last year.

That meant rubbing shoulders with the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Lasith Malinga and Dwayne Bravo, while he even earned a word of praise from Andy Flower, the side’s coach.

And yet he did not actually make it onto the field at any point, given the excellence of the other UAE-based player, Shiraz Ahmed, in that tournament.

“I didn’t get a game because Shiraz was doing so well, but Andy Flower complemented me,” Wasim said.

“That gave me a lot of confidence. He really encouraged me, and told me I was a good fielder, but did not get a chance because Shiraz was bowling so well.

“But the team was doing well, so it was fine. Even after I trained with Maratha Arabians, I had lots of confidence, and my game improved.”

For now, he is contenting himself with bruising bowling attacks while playing for Fujairah Pacific Ventures in the D10, much to the appreciation of his colleagues.

“Wasim never worries about his own score,” Khaleel Goltay, the team’s manager, said.

“He always fights for the team. He only cares about winning, not his score. He has a very good heart.”