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UAE have dropped former captain Rohan Mustafa - their most-capped player across formats - from the T20 World Cup squad. The team will be led by CP Rizwan, who was named UAE's T20I captain only last month. Ironically, Mustafa had hit the winning runs for UAE against Ireland in the final of the qualifying tournament for the World Cup.
Mustafa's axing means he cannot achieve his target of becoming the first from his country to play three World Cups, having earlier represented UAE at the T20 World Cup in 2014 and the ODI World Cup in Australia and New Zealand the following year. His last appearance for UAE came only a few weeks back, while playing Kuwait in the T20 Asia Cup Qualifier.
"It was the dream for me, as it would have meant me becoming the first UAE player to play at three World Cups," Mustafa was quoted as saying by The National News.
"It will be a sad moment for me, and I feel like they are going to miss me a bit. I felt like I had been doing well in T20Is, and was No 8 [in ICC's allrounder rankings in T20Is] before I stopped looking at these things. I will miss them - and do believe they will miss me too - but I will definitely sit down and watch their matches and pray for them to win."
"This team has a solid representation of experience and youth," Robin Singh, Director of Cricket and National Teams' Head Coach, said. "To represent your country is of great pride, and our [coaching] team has complete belief in the maturity and skills of this group of players, and we expect them to surprise a few teams with their performances."
UAE have been placed alongside Sri Lanka, Netherlands and Namibia in Group A of the First Round, from where the top two teams - alongside the best two from Group B - will make the main round. They play their first match against Netherlands in Geelong on October 16, the opening day of the event.
UAE will also play Bangladesh in two T20Is on September 25 and 27 in the build-up to the World Cup.
UAE squad: CP Rizwan (capt), Vriitya Aravind (vice-capt), Chirag Suri, Muhammad Waseem, Basil Hameed, Aryan Lakra, Zawar Farid, Kashif Daud, Karthik Meiyappan, Ahmed Raza, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Sabir Ali, Alishan Sharafu and Aayan Khan