Batsman Chirag Suri has been in sensational form as the UAE’s performances in the Asia Cup qualifiers, in Kuala Lumpur, has seen them ranked number one in the tournament.
After back-to-back games the UAE defeated Singapore by 215 runs and Nepal by 78 runs last week to position themselves nicely for the final against Hong Kong (UAE: 05:30) on Thursday.
One of the shining lights of the competition has been batsman Suri, who’s in the form of his life hitting 111 runs against Singapore and 65 against Nepal making him the tournament’s leading scorer. “The last few games have been really good, I’ve been training really hard,” he told Sport360°. “The potential to play against India and Pakistan in the finals, taking place in the UAE, has been a great source of inspiration. They’re two massive games and so there has been excitement and nervousness in equal measure.”
“I’m hitting the ball well and getting the runs which is what matters. I’ve been performing consistently and I think I’m a more mature batsman now and pleased with my runs in the competition. I’ve definitely got an eye on the personal accolades but I’ve got to put the team first. I don’t want to be the highest scorer and then not qualify for the games against the big nations. I want to win games for the team, I think that’s the key and also the way to get noticed personally.”
The 23-year-old has made his way through the ranks of the UAE team, notably via Red Bull’s Campus Cricket events, which has seen college cricketers play in tournaments in India and Sri Lanka.
“It’s competitions like the Campus Cricket that really help young cricketers like myself, you get experience playing in different countries at a young age which helps prepare you for tournaments like the Asia Cup,” he added.
On the hectic qualifying schedule from Malaysia Suri added: “It’s been a tough tournament having twice played 50-over games back-to-back here so it’s been hard on the body. Our days off were just spent relaxing. It’s not as hot as Dubai but it’s very humid here so we’ve just been resting up and I’ve been drinking a can of Red Bull before each game to get my energy levels up.
“As a team, we’ve had to adapt our game a bit because of the change in conditions. The thing with playing in Malaysia is you’ve always got rain around the corner so you’ve got to bear that in mind.” The Asia Cup kick off in the UAE on September 15.