Say hello to UAE’s new T20 hope Laxman Sreekumar

The India-born batsman happy to be noticed by making 61 against Lancashire after having been overlooked for the squad for recent tour to play the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, writes Paul Radley.

DUBAI // The UAE were controversially eliminated from the Emirates Twenty20 in Dubai on Friday, when a dispute over the keeping of the score was resolved by them losing by one run against Lancashire.

Mohammed Naveed had hit the last ball of the match for six, which the digital scorecard suggested had forced a tie – meaning the UAE would have advanced to the evening’s final against Yorkshire, having scored more power play runs. The umpires, though, went by the manual score, which had Lancashire as winners by one run.

A silver lining

At least there was one significant highlight for UAE, though, as Laxman Sreekumar announced himself as a T20 player of substance.

The India-born batsman, who works for Globelink West Star shipping company in Dubai, made 61 not out against England’s current T20 champion side. He was happy to be noticed, having been overlooked for the squad for recent tour to play the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

From Kerala to Dubai

Sreekumar left his native Kerala, where he had been a reserve for the state’s Ranji Trophy side, after completing his mathematics degree, when he was given the chance to work and play cricket for a living in Dubai.

“It was hard, because I am a homely man, so leaving mama and my family was a little difficult,” Sreekumar said. “I made the decision to come here, and the job, living, everything suits me here.”

The UAE dream

The 29-year-old middle-order batsman debuted for the national team in 2015 as soon as he became eligible after being resident here for four years.

“It was only in the past couple of years that I started to think I could [play international cricket],” he said. “My dream was to play for UAE and represent this country. I have been working towards this.”

Positive about selection

Sreekumar scored 61 on debut in four-day cricket for the national team last year. Now he wants to prove he is worth a place in the short formats, too.

“I missed out on Asia Cup but I would like to play Twenty20, 50 over, and four-day cricket for UAE,” he said. “Maybe next time.

“For the past year we have been progressing. We have been doing well as a unit and we can move ahead with this team.”

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