Loyalites lie with UAE as World T20 duo arrive to cheer on team at Cricket World Cup

Indian and Pakistani nationals who have been long-term expatriates in the UAE might have their loyalties tested when the national team play both the countries at this World Cup. For some, though, there is no question of who to support
India fans show their support in Perth, but Indian expatriate and UAE T20 player Vikrant Shetty will be cheering on the UAE. Greg Wood / AFP
India fans show their support in Perth, but Indian expatriate and UAE T20 player Vikrant Shetty will be cheering on the UAE. Greg Wood / AFP

PERTH // Indian and Pakistani nationals who have been long-term expatriates in the UAE might have their loyalties tested when the national team play both the countries at this World Cup.

For some, though, there is no question of who to support.

Vikrant Shetty and Ahmed Raza played for the UAE at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh last year but were overlooked for selection for the 50-over version in Australia and New Zealand.

Rather than wallowing in self-pity, though, they have opted to book annual leave from work and fly to support their erstwhile colleagues.

While the flight and accommodation in Australia might be expensive, at least they have been able to lean on their mates for some tickets for today’s encounter with India in Perth, although there are plenty of spares.

Even the captain, Mohammed Tauqir, has been unable to get his family across to watch him as his children are unable to skip school.

For the Ireland match at The Gabba in Brisbane on Wednesday, the duo were given access to corporate hospitality thanks to the Emirates Cricket Board.

Shetty, an Indian expatriate who moved to Dubai with his family in his youth, is a friend of Stuart Binny, one of the India squad.

Raza is a Pakistani national who was born in Sharjah and has lived all his life in the UAE.

They both wore kanduras to the Ireland game, as well as a scarf bearing the colours of the UAE flag.

“We learnt how to tie the ghutra before coming here especially,” Shetty said.

“We could not quite manage it when we got here, so we checked YouTube to get it right.”

Raza is proud of the way his mates have performed, despite the defeats to Zimbabwe and Ireland.

“The guys played really good cricket, and these sort of performances will definitely send a message to the ICC,” Raza said.

“All the games involving the associate sides have been the best in the competition

“Hopefully they will review their decision to have a 10-team World Cup next time.”

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Published: February 28, 2015 04:00 AM

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