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UAE’s preparations already under way for Under-19 Asia Cup in Bangladesh

A group of up to 25 players are looking to make the cut for the final squad

Denzil Pinto 2018/08/05

The UAE have already begun preparations for this year’s Under-19 Asia Cup with aspiring cricketers looking to press their case for selection over the summer.

Up to 25 players have been put through their paces since June after being selected by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) following their impressive performances during the domestic season.

They will be aiming to be rewarded with a place in the final squad for October’s Asia Cup where hosts Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Nepal and Afghanistan make up the eight sides in the tournament.

With stern competition expected in Dhaka, the boys have been training every week at the ICC Academy with the ECB keen to give them the best preparation. It also provides an opportunity for the governing body to analyse performances before choosing their squad for the upcoming tournament.

ECB national development manager Andy Russell admits it was difficult to decide on a shortlist for the final stage of the selection process from a pool of more than 100 players.

“We are in a fortunate position of having a lot of young players coming through,” said Russell, the ECB’s national development manager.

“To identify the best is always difficult and there will be a group of players who will be disappointed not to be there (when the squad is announced). It was a difficult process but we have based it on the season-long performances.

“What was taken into account predominantly was the six-month academy league that we run – and the  UAE Cricket League that we host. This training camp is the real block of training that we will give where the selectors will look to identify the best for the Asia Cup.”

The ECB have rolled out the same plans for their Under-16s although no international tournament has been scheduled.

“The Under-16s have been training every week since June but although we are still waiting on whether there will be any competition for them, it’s a great way for them to enhance their game and knowledge,” added Russell.

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