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Debutants confident of good show.

Three new faces will feature in the UAE team when they travel to Netherlands to play the fourth round of the ICC Inter-continental Cup and Pepsi ICC World Cricket League event from July 16 in Rotterdam.

Coach Aaqib Javed very well knows what to expect on the seaming wickets in Holland and has rightfully roped in two pacers - Mohammad Naveed Saleem and Manjula Asanka Guruge while the other Haroon Iftikhar is a left-handed batsman.

Saleem was over the moon when he learnt about his selection. The 25-year-old resides in Fujairah and travels regularly to Dubai for the practice sessions. "It's a great feeling," he said. "I'm happy all the hard work paid off. I will focus hard and ensure I put in my best efforts to have a successful tour. I have never feared any batsman and that should help me come up with a good performance," he added.

The right-arm pacer was quick to credit his success to Javed noting he played a key role in shaping him as a bowler. "He is a star from Pakistan and a great bowler. He knew that I had good pace and then helped me during the nets. I have learnt a lot of things from him."

He further added: "I have a lot of people to thank who helped me at different stages including my club owner Khan Mohammad Afridi and my family. But I have to specially thank my friend Raja Zaheer who used to drop me to nets session in Dubai all the way from Fujairah despite his busy schedule just to ensure that I get to play the game I love," he added.

Guruge who has played good level of cricket back home in Sri Lanka was happy his good run in the domestic season was recognised. "I have had some good performances in the domestic circuit and I'm happy to be in the squad.

"I'm looking forward to this tour since Holland has pitches which usually helps seamers," added the left-arm seamer.

Guruge said he has worked a lot on the fitness aspect and thanked Javed for it. "He is a great coach. He knows what he is doing and has helped me in building my fitness to great level."

Iftikhar, who plays for the Abu Dhabi Gymkhana, is also excited about the prospects of playing in Netherlands but added he was well prepared for it. "Our club team travelled to Lancashire County and I got some good scores on those wickets. So that should give me enough confidence going to Holland where we can expect similar wickets.

"We also trained at ICC GCA which has wickets prepared for different conditions," he said.

Interstingly, he had never met Javed despite Iftikhar hailing from Pakistan and playing domestic cricket there. "Javed is a great human being. I had never met him in Pakistan but heard a lot about his coaching abilities. I got to see them personally at the training sessions we had in the recent weeks and he is just amazing."

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Jun 7, 2012
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