RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation on Tuesday announced the squad that will represent the nation at the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier in Qatar later this month.
The winner of Group A — one of two sub-regional sections and initially due to be played in Kuwait but later relocated to Qatar — will progress to a global playoff with a place at the 2022 Men’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia at stake.
“Team Saudi Arabia have kick-started their training in Riyadh at ZAS Academy before competing at the preliminary Asian qualifiers in Qatar for the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup finals,” the federation said in a statement.
The Saudi national cricket team is being overseen by Pakistani coach Muhammad Kabir Khan, with fitness training taken by Muhammad Ali Khan ahead of the matches against the Maldives (Oct. 23), Kuwait (Oct. 25), Qatar (Oct. 27 and Bahrain (Oct. 28).
SACF Chairman Prince Saud bin Mishal praised the efforts of the players, coaches and technical staff during the preparation period, and said he was confident that the team would achieve positive results.
“All the players have been thoroughly assessed for fitness, bowling, batting and fielding, and from that a comprehensive program has been formulated to train them,” Kabir Khan said. “We are creating a new team and one of my aims is for players to develop a bond with each other because cricket is all about teamwork. Our plan is to play quality cricket in Qatar.”
SACF Khabir Khan was chosen to lead the team by the SACF due to his wealth of experience amassed during a 15-year coaching career. He has previously played an instrumental role in leading the Afghan national team to its highest international ranking.
Commenting on the tour, captain Abdul Waheed Abdul Ghaffar said: “Cricket is one sport in which teamwork plays an important role and that is our priority. Training sessions including field drills, coaching, and fitness regimes are in progress to make us mentally and physically fit to play competitive cricket,” he said.
“As a skipper, I’m absolutely delighted to lead my team into the ICC T20 World Cup Asia qualifiers,” he said. “It is a huge responsibility to shoulder and I will do my best to deliver positive results.”
The 14 players chosen for Team Saudi Arabia are: Abdul Ghaffar (captain), Imran Arif (vice captain), Zeeshan Sarfaraz Butt (wicket keeper), Faisal Khan, Ahmed Abdul Waheed Baladarf, Imran Yousuf, Amir Shahzad, Muhammad Nadeem, Ishtiaq Ahmad, Zain ul Abdin, Abdul Wahid, Basit Ali, Mohammad Hisham Shaikh and Sajid Imran Cheema.