UAE captain Khurram Khan can still cash in for the Emirates

Khan, the national team captain, gave a little leap and looked up to the sky upon reaching his century in the second one-day international against Afghanistan, writes Paul Radley.

The UAE's Khurram Khan hit 132 not out against Afghanistan on Sunday. AP Photo/A.M. Ahad
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DUBAI // A 43-year-old flight purser from Sharjah jumped to the head of a luminous list when he scored a hundred for the UAE on Sunday.

Khurram Khan, the national team captain, gave a little leap and looked up to the sky upon reaching three figures in the second one-day international against Afghanistan.

In so doing, he went past Sanath Jayasuriya, Geoffrey Boycott and Sachin Tendulkar to become the oldest player to score a one-day international century.

The heavenwards glance was easily explained.

The Pakistan-born all-rounder, who has given more than a decade of service to UAE cricket, has been waiting a long time for this moment. It meant everything to him.

He has scored plenty of centuries in the grey of the UAE, but this was his first since the side achieved official one-day international status this year, and he wanted to give thanks.

How he summoned the energy for the celebratory jump, though, is a source of wonder.

Apart from the fact he is getting on in years, Khurram was in San Francisco with his day job with Emirates Airline the day before this series started.

He barely slept on Saturday night because of jet lag, yet he still managed his extraordinary feat with the bat at the ICC ­Academy.

Jayasuriya, Boycott and Tendulkar never had to put up with that sort of thing, yet Khurram has scored 185 runs, for once out, and played the vital role in two wins in the three days since.

“Wow, that is amazing,” Khurram said when informed he had beaten Jayasuriya’s record for the oldest ODI centurion by almost four years.

“To be associated with these names is amazing. When I am playing I never think about how old I am,” he said.

“When you are playing with a group of players who are supporting you and working very hard, then age is the last thing on your mind, to be honest.”

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