The United Arab Emirates made the announcement the night before the Asia Cup Qualifier that their long-time skipper Ahmed Raza has been removed from his position as captain for the Twenty20 format of the game. In the shortest format of the game, middle order bat Chundangapoyil Rizwan will take over the job of captain, while Raza will continue to serve as the leader of the ODI team. The Emirates Cricket Board made the decision to split the captaincy and replace Raza just a few short days before their opening match, which was scheduled to take place against Kuwait at Al Amerat on Sunday. The reason given for the decision was the necessity for format specialisation and succession planning.
“The committee believes, after extensive discussions, and following a detailed review of the side’s recent performance in the 50-over format, that by providing the respective captains with a sole-format-focus, it creates a strong leadership succession plan, and it encourages a singular commitment to fine-tuning strategic on-field components of the game,” read a statement that was released at the introduction of the squad.
Under Raza’s guidance, the United Arab Emirates Twenty20 International team won two thirds of their matches in the format and qualified for the Twenty20 World Cup in 2022, making him the most successful captain in the history of Twenty20 Internationals for the UAE. Raza took over the captaincy from Mohammad Naveed in late 2019 prior to the previous T20 World Cup Qualifier. This was immediately before the team was engulfed in a corruption crisis that saw several senior players, including his predecessor, given lengthy bans. Raza was forced into the role under difficult circumstances. Mohammad Naveed was the previous captain. e
Raza himself sealed qualification with a player of the match performance against Nepal in the decisive match, before leading the side to victory over Ireland in the final. Since that low point, the 33-year-old left-arm spinner has presided over a remarkable rebuilding effort, which culminated in a revitalised Emirates side winning the first 2022 Global T20 World Cup Qualifier at Oman in February.
Raza’s replacement as T20 skipper is CP Rizwan, a 34-year-old former batsman for Kerala. CP Rizwan is a regular in ODIs, but in the shorter format, he has only played a supporting role up to this point. He did not make the squad for the Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier and has only seven total Twenty20 International caps for the UAE. Over the course of six innings, his average is 16.66 and his strike rate is 101.
The head coach of the Emirates team, Robin Singh, stated that “It is essential that we keep our attention on the objective at hand, which is to take things one game and one victory at a time. And every victory in the qualifying brings us one step closer to our ultimate objective of taking part in the Asia Cup.” “We have a lot of experience with the weather in Oman, and both the players and the support staff are aware of the aspects that require the most attention from us. The preparations have gone smoothly, and from here on out, it will be up to the squad to produce on the day of the match; however, we will not be taking any opposition team lightly, especially in a T20 style match.”
At the Asia Cup Qualifier, which will take place in Oman starting tomorrow, the United Arab Emirates will be competing against Kuwait, Hong Kong, and Singapore for a spot in the Asia Cup main tournament, which will take place in a week.
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