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Shaheens gear up for ACC Men’s Emerging Asia Cup

Defending champions Pakistan Shaheens are all geared up to open their campaign in the ACC Men’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup when they take on Nepal at the Colombo Cricket Club Ground in Sri Lanka on Friday.

The eight teams in the 50-over tournament are divided into two pools. Afghanistan A, Bangladesh A, Oman A and Sri Lanka A are a part of Group A, while Pakistan Shaheens along with India A, Nepal and UAE A are in Group B.

After taking on Nepal, Mohammad Haris-led Shaheens will take on UAE A on 17 July at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium, while their last group match will be against India A on 19 July at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals which will be played on 21 July. The final of the tournament will take place on 23 July.

Before arriving in Colombo on Tuesday night, Shaheens were involved in a six-day training camp at Lahore’s National Cricket Academy. They also underwent two-day training sessions in Colombo under the coaching panel led by Mohammad Masroor.

The previous edition of the ACC Men’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup was held in Bangladesh from 14 to 23 November 2019. Pakistan Shaheens won the 2019 iteration of the tournament beating hosts Bangladesh in the final by 77 runs at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

In the first semi-final of that competition, they defeated India Emerging Team in a thriller by three runs at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. In that match Omair Bin Yousuf and Amad Butt – the only two players part of the current Shaheens squad for the forthcoming tournament – contributed significantly to the team’s win. Opening batter Omair scored 66, while right-arm fast Amad took one for 43 including a brilliant death overs spell to help his side reach the final.

On the eve of Shaheens’ opening match, Omair and Amad shed light on the team’s preparations as they looked forward to the tournament. Amad said, “We have prepared well for this event and are excited to be in action.

“Being an all-rounder, I try to give equal time to both batting and bowling in the practice sessions and make sure to do well as per the requirement of the team.

“This is a very important tournament for each one of us. This presents a comeback opportunity for me and I will strive to utilise it in order to gain a spot in the national side.”

Omair said: “I am eager to repeat the same performance that I have produced in Shaheens recent tour to Zimbabwe. I will try to execute my plans on the match day that I have practiced in the nets here.

“We will focus on executing our plans effectively and making every effort to emerge victorious.

“Having performed against India in the 2019 edition of the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, I will try to give my best again for the team’s cause.

“This tournament provides a great opportunity for any youngster to perform and get a chance to represent the national team, so I will too try to grab it with both hands by giving good performances.”

Squad:

Mohammad Haris (captain, wicketkeeper) (Peshawar), Omair Bin Yousuf (vice-captain) (Karachi), Amad Butt (Sialkot), Arshad Iqbal (Swabi), Haseebullah (Quetta), Kamran Ghulam (Peshawar), Mehran Mumtaz (Rawalpindi), Mubasir Khan (Islamabad), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (North Waziristan), Qasim Akram (Lahore), Sahibzada Farhan (Charsadda), Saim Ayub (Karachi), Shahnawaz Dahani (Larkana), Sufiyan Muqeem (AJK) and Tayyab Tahir (Gujrat)

Non-traveling reserves – Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Junaid and Rohail Nazir

Player support personnel: Shahid Aslam (manager), Mohammad Masroor (head coach), Hanif Malik (batting/fielding coach), Umar Rashid (bowling coach) and Imtiaz Ahmed (physiotherapist)

Pakistan’s fixtures in ACC Men’s Emerging Teams Asia Cup

Group B:

v Nepal – 14 July, Colombo Cricket Club Ground (10am local time)
v UAE A – 17 July, P Saravanamuttu Stadium (10am local time)
v India A – 19 July, R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium (2pm local time)

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