Paul Franks: UAE show ‘we are here to fight’ against Scotland ahead of one-day series

Paul Radley reports on UAE cricket's hopes ahead of a two-match one-day series against Scotland after they battled ably in a rain-wracked four-day match.
Paul Franks with UAE cricketers at a training session in July. Satish Kumar / The National
Paul Franks with UAE cricketers at a training session in July. Satish Kumar / The National

Having belatedly registered their first points in the long format, the UAE cricket team will return to what they know best when they play two one-day internationals against Scotland in Edinburgh this week.

The two sides shared a draw in the Intercontinental Cup, after rain washed out most of the four days of play.

In the 66 overs that were possible, the UAE showed they are refusing to be the pushovers that their league placing suggests they have been to date.

The national team arrived in Scotland bottom of both the Intercontinental Cup and the World Cricket League Championship, after a miserable past 12 months.

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However, under the guidance of Paul Franks, the new – and, for now, interim – coach, the side battled well in conditions and a format that have proved alien to them in the past in the first tour match.

All domestic cricket that is played in the UAE is limited-overs, so the side will be full of optimism when they switch from red to white-ball cricket at The Grange on Sunday.

Franks, who is on a six-week loan from Nottinghamshire, his full-time employers in English county cricket, was impressed by the fight showed by his side last week.

“I made it perfectly clear when we arrived that I wanted to come here and win three games of cricket,” Franks said.

“I didn’t want to just focus on the one-dayers at the end of it, and they all bought into that.

“They all understood it was going to be a challenge. I think we have shown Scotland we are here to fight, to battle, and won’t have them dictate terms to us in their home conditions.

“Whilst we will always be more comfortable playing white-ball cricket, it was very evident we didn’t want to turn up and roll over.”

Although the abandoned four-day match brought little but frustration for each of the sides, the UAE had one sizable positive in the form of the return of Rameez Shahzad.

The middle-order batsman was playing his first international game in eight years, and showed impressive restraint to lift UAE from a precarious position, as he made 74 not out.

Franks said his innings was evidence of a commendable temperament, which has not always been a trademark of a player who is usually known for big hitting.

In a practice match for UAE against Pakistan’s Test side last winter, for example, Rameez hit a number of the bowlers for six, including the celebrated legspinner Yasir Shah.

Rameez was pleased with his form in the Intercontinental Cup, but acknowledged his side are likely to be more comfortable in the limited-overs format.

“Being here is the main thing and my aim is to do the best I can and be the best player in the team,” Rameez said.

“Moving to a different format means I can be a little bit more aggressive. The conditions will be similar in Edinburgh but hopefully the wicket will be a little better [than in Ayr].”

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Published: August 13, 2016 04:00 AM

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