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Playing in ILT20 is a huge opportunity for us, say UAE's Junaid Siddique, Alishan Sharafu

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Dubai (UAE), Jan 9 (IANS) UAE players Junaid Siddique and Alishan Sharafu, who will be part of the Sharjah Warriors in the inaugural season of the DP World International League T20, are looking forward to teaming up with foreign stars and learning from their experience.

The two youngsters are eager to showcase their talent and perform on the big stage in the tournament, which is set to be held across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in January-February 2023.

Speaking about the opportunity of playing for the Warriors, Junaid Siddique said, "It was a dream come true for me when I got selected for the Sharjah Warriors. There's no bigger chance than this for players like us. The DP World ILT20 is a huge opportunity to prove myself. I like that Moeen Ali is our captain and there are a lot of other players from whom I can learn from. I am particularly looking forward to sharing the dugout with Chris Woakes and Mohammad Nabi."

The fast bowler, who has taken 33 wickets in 28 T20s, spoke about how he started cricket, "My father likes cricket a lot and he wanted to see me become a cricketer and play for Pakistan. But unfortunately, I couldn't play for Pakistan, however, I got a chance to play for UAE.

"I always had an interest in cricket and as I grew older, my passion for cricket kept growing. I left my studies and pursued cricket as a career. I skipped my exams in 2011 to play in a U-19 district tournament in Pakistan," he added.

Meanwhile, batter Alishan Sharafu said that he is looking forward to learning from the players on the Warriors' side.

"It felt great when I got to know that I will be playing for the Sharjah Warriors. I have worked with coach Paul Farbrace before and he told me that the team is interested in picking me. After that, I was signed by the Sharjah Warriors. We have a great side and I am looking forward to learning from the batters in the side. You get to learn a lot from just being in a professional environment," he was quoted as saying by the team in a release on Monday.

Sharafu also said his interest in cricket grew when India won the ICC Men's World Cup in 2011, "I used to play cricket on the streets with my family. My earliest memory of watching cricket was when India won the 2011 ICC Men's World Cup. That's when my interest rose for the game. I started training at an academy in 2013-14. After a few years, I played for the UAE U-19 team. There was no looking back after that."

The Sharjah Warriors will be in action when they take on MI Emirates in their first match of the DP World ILT20 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on January 14, 2023.

Making its debut on January 13, the inaugural DP World ILT20 promises to be a high-octane competition with some of the greatest cricketing superstars on the planet set to make their way to the UAE to kick off the league. The league will be played in a 34-match format across the UAE's exemplary, world-class cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Franchise teams, comprising over 100 international and 24 UAE-based players, include Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Knight Riders Group), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries), and Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global).

Cricket fans across the world can catch the LIVE telecast of this exciting cricket league on ZEE's linear channels, digital platform, Zee5 as well as Zee Cinema SD, Zee Cinema HD, Zee Anmol Cinema, &Pictures HD, &Flix SD, &Flix HD, Zee Zest SD, Zee Zest HD, Zee Bangla Cinema, Zee Thirai, and on CricLife across the UAE and MENA regions.



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