Muhammad Waseem, one of the most exciting young players in the UAE national team, achieved a major milestone in his promising career when he earned the opportunity to represent MI Emirates in the DP World ILT20.
Waseem made his international debut in 2021 and has since represented his national side in 21 ODIs and 20 T20Is. His strike rate in the 20-over format has been impressive, with 743 runs in 20 innings at a decent average of 39.10 and a strike rate of 143.43.
“Since this league was announced I always wanted to play for MI Emirates. MI is the biggest franchise in the world. It is a successful franchise. When I got to know that I had got a chance to play for MI Emirates under Kieron Pollard as captain, my happiness doubled,” he said.
The fact that MI Emirates is led by West Indies star Kieron Pollard, one of the most feared batters in the T20 format, is an added bonus for the 28-year-old right-hander.
“The kind of captain Pollard is, he treats everyone well and gives us all confidence. I had heard a lot about him. But ever since I met him, he has always backed me and given me confidence. I get more confidence when I am backed by players such as Dwayne Bravo, Pollard, Nicholas Pooran and more importantly the MI Emirates team management,” he added.
He praised Pollard’s captaincy and credited his inspiring words before the match for his power-packed performance against Sharjah Warriors in MI Emirates’ campaign opener.
“Pollard’s captaincy had a big role in helping me perform. The kind of confidence and support he gave me inspired me to perform well,” Waseem said.
Commenting on the performance of the MI Emirates batting line-up, especially his 79-run partnership for the third wicket with Nicholas Pooran in the opening match, Waseem said:
“It (the performance) was a result of the kind of practice and training we underwent in the build-up to the tournament. Earlier I used to go all out from the word go, but in the first match, me and Pooran decided to access the conditions and the bowlers, before getting into the groove. I have played with Pooran in the past too, he is an experienced campaigner and batting with him boosts my confidence. In the last match, the conditions were windy but we were confident that the way we were batting, if we manage to connect our shots properly, the ball will go beyond the boundary.”
Waseem also expressed his interest in rolling his arms if Pollard and the MI Emirates team management want to utilize his services. “I like to take responsibility and if given a chance will like to bowl also in the future,” he said.
As MI Emirates prepare to take on the same opponents (Sharjah Warriors) in Sharjah on Tuesday, Waseem said the team will look forward to continuing in the same vein. “We’ll look forward to winning by an even bigger margin in the next game, and try to seize the momentum,” he said.