Two UAE bowlers took time off from working with the national team this week after being called in to train with Pakistan instead.
Imran Haider, the leg-spinner, and Qadeer Ahmed, the pace bowler, have spent the past three days at nets with Pakistan’s limited-overs players at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
Those Pakistan players not involved in the Test match, 2kms away on the other side of Dubai Sports City, have been fine-tuning their games ahead of Friday’s first one-day international.
Haider and Qadeer have been part of the practice sessions, after Pakistan’s management asked Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, to loan some high-quality net bowlers.
“It has been a great opportunity to have net practice with the Pakistan team, it has really helped a lot,” Haider said.
“In the nets I got a couple of wickets every day. They are obviously all very good players, but I managed to get the wickets of Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim.
“Shoaib Malik really motivated me and said he was very impressed with my bowling.”
Both are Pakistan-born and qualify for the UAE on residency grounds.
Although the national team played against Pakistan in the Asia Cup T20 last year, neither was involved. Haider was not yet part of the squad, while Qadeer was injured in the lead up to the match.
Haider says it would be a dream to play for the UAE against the country of his birth in a full international.
“I played Under 19 cricket [in Pakistan] with Ahmed Shahzad, Nasir Jamshed, and matches with Kamran Akmal,” Haider said. “It is a dream for me to play against Pakistan, and all of the best sides in the world.”
Qadeer has made the most of his stint with Pakistan to help iron out some flaws in his own game.
Ironically, the 31-year-old seamer has been suffering with similar problems to that which afflicted Wahab Riaz so graphically during the Test match against Sri Lanka.
On Day 2, . Qadeer has also been suffering with problems with his run up, since playing for the .
UAE bowler Qadeer Ahmed trains with Pakistan's one-day team at the ICC Academy, Dubai Sports City. Chris Whiteoak / The National
As such, he was grateful to have some assistance from Azhar Mahmood, Pakistan’s bowling coach, who was also tasked with helping out Wahab.
“He worked with me for 35 minutes on sorting out my run up,” Qadeer said.
“This has been a great opportunity for us. I have had this problem with my run up for the past couple of weeks, and have already been working with Dougie Brown on it.
“Then I got a chance to work with Azhar Mahmood. It was a surprise that he would be happy to work with me, and a really great experience. I am very thankful to him.”