Kerala Knights draft local talent for title-defence

Source | Gulf News November 6, 2018

Dubai: Defending champions Kerala Knights have drafted Mohammad Naveed, one of UAE’s finest all-rounders, for the second edition of the T10 League to be held from November 21 to December 2 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Speaking to Gulf News from Nepal, where he is playing for the Nepal’s Pokhara Premier League and won the best all-rounder award, Naveed said: “I am looking forward to play for Kerala Kings which has Daniel Vettori as coach and Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard in the team. I have played in many matches against Gayle and hence it would be nice to play alongside him this time. I will be playing with the confidence of having played a big role in Pokhara Paltan’s triumph in the Nepal league.”

Shafi Ul Mulk, the co-owner of Kerala Kings, said: “Very few know that Naveed is one of the highest ranked players in ICC’s T20 ranking from among the associate countries. He is in the 14th position and is the first from among the non Test playing nation players. He will be very useful for our team.”

Kerala Knights also picked UAE’s top order batsman and wicketkeeper Abdul Shakoor. “We’ve done a very good study in making sure that we field the right combination,” said co-owner Nader Adam Ali, who along with co-owners Ali Askar and Ul Mulk is doing their homework to defend the title.

Even in the selection of the Indian players, they went for Reetinder Singh Sodhi — a fine all-rounder who keeps fit even at the age of 38. Though Sodhi played in only 18 one-day internationals for India, he also carries with him experience of having played in both Indian Cricket League and India Premier League. “Sodhi can hit hard and bowl accurate medium pace. Very few know that he has hit an unbeaten 251 and taken over 100 wickets in first class cricket. Our team needs players who have experience to handle the different situations and play according to the need of the hour,” said Ul Mulk.

“We have a globally respected cricketing brain in Vettori as coach and we have been able to get a team for him that can execute his plans,” he added.

The Eoin Morgan-led team wants the squad to not only win matches but entertain the fans of the team in UAE as well as in Kerala. “We have a large following of Kerala fans in UAE and in Kerala and we have to make sure that our players play entertaining cricket,” said Ul Mulk.