Keralite CP Rizwan Rauf to lead UAE cricket team in Asia Cuptext_fields
Dubai: For the first time in the history of United Arab Emirates cricket team, a Keralite player is going to lead the UAE team. CP Rizwan Rauf has been selected for captaincy in the Asia Cup qualifying round match to be held in Al-Amerat, Oman from Saturday August 20 to 24.
If the team qualifies, the UAE team will play in the Asia Cup final round beginning on August 27.
In addition to Rizwan two other players from Kerala, Basil Hameed and Alishan Sharafu have also found a place in the UAE team.
Though he has been playing for the UAE since 2018, This Asia Cup is the first time Rizwan will be UAE skipper. UAE will compete against the other full-member teams after the Qualifier which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the main tournament, which begins in the UAE on August 27.
Rizwan, who takes over captaincy from Raza, has played seven T20Is, in which he has scored 100 runs at an average of 16.66 and a strike rate of 101.01. Raza will however continue be the UAE captain in the T20Is.
Rizwan hails from Thalassery, Kerala, well known for its legacy of cricket having contributed dozens of stars for Kerala's cricket side over decades. He has been in the UAE national team since 2018 until when he was a regular in domestic cricket here and as an all-rounder winning several Man of the Match awards in the process.
His shining hour came last when he scored 109 off 136 balls against Ireland in ao ne-day match at Sheikh Zayed Stadium . Over 29 one-day matches he has bagged a total of 736 runs. An all-rounder for the team, and chiefly a scoring bat, Rizwan has also proved his mettle as a bowler of need.
Rizwan is not without predecessors as members of the UAE team. Krishna Chandran, Lakshman and Shanil did play in the past for the UAE, but none of them had played in the Ranji Trophy for Kerala, except Krishna who was in Ranji one-dayers. And none of them had the luck of being captain of the UAE side.