Fast bowler Mohammad Naveed will continue as captain of UAE’s T20I side for their two-match series against USA, the first of which will be played on March 15 at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
Naveed had been put in charge for UAE’s 2-1 series defeat to Nepal in January after Rohan Mustafa, the regular captain, was suspended for eight weeks along with Ahmed Raza and Rameez Shahzad, following tweets that were critical of facilities in Pakistan during UAE’s tour there in December for the ACC Emerging Teams Cup.
Though all three players have returned for the games against USA, Naveed will remain in charge when they take the field on Friday in the first of two T20Is.
Two other players recalled to the 15-man UAE squad after lengthy absences were Amjad Gul and Waheed Ahmed. Gul has played four T20Is, the last of them against Afghanistan in December 2016, while Waheed’s lone T20I appearance came against an England Lions side in December 2015.
Wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber and batsmen Muhammad Usman and Chirag Suri were the notable absentees. Shabber made 39 runs in the recent three-match T20I series against Nepal, including a best of 25 off 15 balls opening the batting in the final game. Usman began with 30 off 24 balls in the opening win of the series before making scores of 0 and 2 in the defeats. On all three occasions, Usman fell to legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane. Suri did not feature in any of the Nepal games, as was the case with Fahad Nawaz and Qadeer Ahmed, who were also left out.
Following the conclusion of the T20Is, a UAE developmental XI will play USA in a series of 50-over matches. According to sources, USA are expected to play six 50-over matches against local teams in the UAE in March, though it’s unclear whether any of these matches will have List A status.