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A sales executive turned cricket captain

cricket captain

High-level cricket competition was a luxury Muhammad Waseem could not imagine when he left Pakistan seven years ago in search of employment in the UAE.

A few district-level matches in the small Pakistani town of Mian Channu were listed on Waseem’s cricket resume.

But while he balanced his lives as a sales executive and a club cricket player, it was good enough to earn him a few local matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Eventually, the national selectors took notice of his ability to strike the ball cleanly, and he went on to make his UAE debut in 2021.

Now, in every game, the strong 29-year-old opening batsman puts UAE’s hopes on his broad shoulders.

With 942 runs in just 23 T20 international matches at a 42.81 average, he is currently without a doubt the finest associate-level batsman in T20 internationals.

These runs had a remarkable 144 strike rate.

Waseem, however, also demonstrated his abilities on a large scale when he finished the first season of the DP World ILT20, the UAE’s franchise T20 league modeled after the IPL, with the fourth-highest score, trailing only Alex Hales, James Vince, and Kieron Pollard.

In 10 games for MI Emirates, he scored 367 runs against some of the best bowlers in the world.

It was a performance that even won him Virender Sehwag’s respect.

Waseem is a fun player to watch. I was amazed by him when watching him bat at the ILT20 because he didn’t hesitate to take risks when facing any bowler, Sehwag recently told a reporter at an event in Dubai.

Now, when Waseem makes his debut as T20 skipper in a three-match series against New Zealand on Thursday in Dubai, he will be trying to encourage the UAE team to play fearlessly.

Despite missing a few of its usual players, the Tim Southee-led New Zealand side nonetheless brought a potent lineup for the UAE series, including Jimmy Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, and Tim Seifert.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to play against a Test-playing country. It’s a fantastic chance for our athletes to showcase their talents against a premier team like New Zealand,” Waseem told reporters on Wednesday following the trophy revealing event.

“We don’t sense any pressure of any kind. We’ll do all we can to make life difficult for the New Zealanders, and hopefully we’ll prevail.

Waseem, a batsman whose early dismissal frequently causes a batting collapse, appears to have become overly depended on by the UAE team in recent international games.

Waseem claims that the group is now learning to rely less on a single person.

Both the brash middle-order batsman Asif Khan and the young wicketkeeper-batsman Vriitya Aravind, who will be making his T20 debut on Thursday, are capable of competing with any squad.

We have some capable batters who are prepared to share the load, so I believe it will soon come to an end, Waseem stated.

“Vriitya is an excellent player, and Asif is a decent batsman as well. If I strike out early, perhaps all of our batters will step up to the plate and support the team.

Of course, I’d like to bat for a while, but if I get out early, our team has enough people to share the batting load.

The 2024 T20 World Cup will begin in the West Indies and the US in around nine months.

The UAE is attempting to return to the T20 showpiece after competing in the previous one in Australia, where they managed to defeat Namibia.

That’s why playing against a side like New Zealand is a fantastic opportunity for us. The Emirates Cricket Board deserves all the credit for organizing these matches against New Zealand, Waseem stated.

“Our squad is strong; there is a solid balance of youth and experience. We’re hoping we can deliver a strong performance.

UAE squad: Muhammad Waseem (captain), Ali Naseer, Ansh Tandon, Aryansh Sharma, Asif Khan, Aayan Afzal Khan, Basil Hameed, Ethan D’Souza, Faraazuddin, Jash Giyanani, Junaid Siddique, Lovepreet Singh, Mohammad Jawadullah, Sanchit Sharma, Vriitya Aravind and Zahoor Khan.

New Zealand: Tim Southee (c), Adi Ashok, Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Dane Cleaver, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Kyle Jamieson, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Will Young.

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