UAE players to thrive in Netherlands despite complicated build-up, says Mohammed Naveed

Captain confident as tourists go into second T20 holding 1-0 lead in four-match series despite squad members' complex flight plans

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 31, 2019: UAE's captain Mohammad Naveed directs his field in the the match between the UAE and Nepal in an international T20 series. Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at ICC, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak/The National
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Mohammed Naveed insists UAE can benefit from their complicated build-up to their series against Netherlands, which saw players flying in from opposite sides of the globe to play.

The majority of the squad flew from the heat of Dubai last week, ahead of Saturday's Twenty20 opener, which the UAE won to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series.

At the same time, many national team players were featuring in the Global T20 Canada, a franchise T20 competition. While Shaiman Anwar and Chirag Suri, two UAE contracted players, have remained in Canada for that tournament, the rest flew in to join the squad in Amstelveen.

In Saturday’s opener, Rohan Mustafa and Zahoor Khan in particular betrayed few signs of jet lag, having arrived two days before the game. Mustafa took two wickets, while Zahoor helped put the breaks on the Dutch run-chase, as the national team defended their total of 181.

Despite the complex flight plans, UAE captain Naveed is certain the players benefited from travelling to play in a competition that involves the likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, and Shahid Afridi.

“I think playing in Canada meant we are all in rhythm and we have come into this series with momentum,” Naveed said ahead of Monday's second match. “By playing franchise cricket, I believe we have gained excellent professional experience.

“I think my captaincy has been enhanced and I’ve learned to cope with difficult situations.”

The series in the Netherlands is part of the build up to the T20 World Cup Qualifier, which starts in the UAE in October. That tournament carries with it six places for the main competition in Australia in 2020.

“All this stuff [the Netherlands series, as well as the Global T20] adds up to pretty good preparation for the qualifier and playing against the top Associate sides,” Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, said.