Shareef Asadullah hopes T10 Cricket League selection will lead to a UAE recall

Seam bowler, selected in the UAE player draft by the Punjabi Legends, has not played for the national team since World T20 in Bangladesh three years ago

Pakistani batsman Shoaib Malik plays a shot during the third and final T20 cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on October 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI

Shareef Asadullah hopes his shock selection for a US$10,000 (Dh36,700) deal to play in the T10 Cricket League can help prompt a recall to the UAE side.

The seam bowler has not played for the national team since the World T20 in Bangladesh in 2014.

However, he was plucked from the obscurity of the domestic game, and beat several contracted UAE players to a deal to play in the 10-over competition.

Asadullah will play for Punjabi Legends, a franchise co-owned by Inzamam-ul-Haq in the event in Sharjah, starting on December 14.

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“I have played for the UAE team, and I still have that ambition,” Asadullah said.

“Now I am performing very well. I don’t know what they have decided for the team, the selectors are focused on other players, but still I want to play.

"It is a great achievement to play for the UAE. I am not now in the UAE team, but I have been performing for Alubond Tigers for a long time.

“That is why my name was in the draft, and I was very happy when I was selected.”

Asadullah was the one surprise of the 10 players who were selected from the UAE player draft on Saturday night.

The other nine are regular components in the national team, while consistent performers such as Mohammed Usman, Qadeer Ahmed and Ahmed Raza missed out altogether.

Asadullah will play alongside the likes of Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq and Carlos Brathwaite with the Punjabi side.

He will be vying for a place in the starting line up with bowlers of the calibre of Hasan Ali, the world’s No 1 one-day international bowler, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Rangana Herath.

Despite the competition for places, his prospects of playing time are good, because of a condition for the tournament.

Team Sri Lanka Cricket is made up exclusively of players from that country, but the other five franchises all have two UAE players in their squad.

At least one has to be named in the starting XI. Ghulam Shabber, the UAE wicketkeeper, is the other home-based player in the Punjabi team.

Asadullah is confident he will be well prepared. His day job is as a PR officer for Mulk Holdings, the company owned by the creator of the TCL, Shaji Ul Mulk.

As such, he is confident he will get enough time off to devote to being ready to play.

“They called me and said, if you want to take leave and holiday to focus on the matches, that is fine, because it is an achievement to play in the T10,” Asadullah said.

“They have told me to focus on cricket, don’t focus on my job. Mr Shaji is a big supporter of cricket.

“It is great that we will get this chance to play with such good players, and that they have given the support to UAE players.”

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