(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Qatar national team will play two Twenty20 and one 50-over cricket matches against Uganda starting from tomorrow, February 9, at the Asian Town cricket stadium. The bilateral series is part of Qatar team's preparation for the Asian regional qualifiers for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Kuwait in April.
Announcing the fixtures, Qatar Cricket Association (QCA) President Yousef Jeham al-Kuwari said the series provides an ideal chance for Qatar team to prepare for six-nation tournament in Kuwait. 'This is a great opportunity for Qatar team to get some match practice ahead of the Asian regional qualifiers. The tournament in Kuwait is an important one for us as we seek to qualify for the 2020 World T20, which is a long step. And I hope the matches against Uganda will be beneficial for the team, al-Kuwari said at a press conference yesterday.
Prior to the opening match against Qatar, Uganda will play a T20 warm-up encounter against President's XI today. Tomorrow, the two national sides will face-off in a 50-over match, followed by a T20 match on Saturday. On Sunday, President's XI will play another practice match against the visitors.
After a day's rest, the two national teams will face each other for one last time in a T20 match as part of Qatar's National Sport Day celebrations on February 13.
Al-Kuwari said it was a good opportunity for cricket-loving Asian community in Qatar to watch a quality match. 'The fans have a great chance to watch cricket in Qatar. I am sure people will come to watch Qatar play Uganda on National Sport Day in large numbers. We want to promote cricket in Qatar massively and National Sport Day is an ideal platform to do that, the QCA president observed.
Al-Kuwari said cricket is growing rapidly in Qatar and it's the most popular sport in the country.
'I must say cricket is the most followed sport in Qatar. In terms of playing the game too, it's the highest. I can confidently say that it's most played sport in Qatar. We have around 2000 people playing the game in various divisions. It's a good number.
'We are still developing the game here and are determined to take it to the next level. But there have already been lots of improvements. In the 2017 ICC World Cricket League Division Five held in South Africa, Qatar won the third-place playoff to remain in Division Five. QCA has done an excellent job so far and they are working hard, al-Kuwari said.
Uganda, coached by former Kenya captain Steve Tikolo, also sees this as an opportunity to get ready for the World Cricket League Division 4 tournament in Malaysia in April. After the series in Qatar, Uganda will travel to India to play some more practice matches.
This is Tikolo's second stint with Uganda; he served as an assistant and batting coach in 2012-13. During that tenure, Uganda won the T20 African Premier League and qualified for the 2014 World Cup Qualifier after finishing in the top two with Nepal at WCL Division Three in May 2013.
Tikolo said his aim is to take Uganda to Division Two. They are now in Division Four so Tikolo has a tough task ahead of him, but is confident he can achieve results with the team. 'I have been with Uganda for almost two years now. It's my second stint. Cricket in Uganda is taking a good shape. Lot of players are coming through. Uganda has a very good development system, where they bring players to national level. But we need to make them good international players, said Tikolo, who played 135 ODIs and 15 T20Is for Kenya in an international career spanning almost 18 years.
Today: President's XI vs Uganda (T20)
Tomorrow: Qatar vs Uganda (50-ov)
Feb 10: Qatar vs Uganda (T20)
Feb 11:President's XI vs Uganda (50-ov)
Feb 13: President's XI vs Uganda (T20)
Qatar squad: Inam-Ul-Haq, Mohamed Rizlan, Mohamed Awais, Malik Faisal, Javed Khan, Iqbal Hussain Chaudhry, Dharmang Hasmukh Patel, Qalandar Khan, Mohamed Nadeem, Kamran Khan, Tamoor Sajjad, Zaheeruddeen Ibrahim, Mohamed Tanveer, Mohamed Imran Ashraf and Khurram Shahzad
Uganda squad: Roger Mukasa, Hamu Kayondo Bagenda, Zephania Arinaitwe, Simon Sseazi, Shahzad Ukani, Lloyd Paternott, Deusdedit Muhumuza, Brian Masaba, Frank Nsubuga, Kenneth Waiswa, Fred Achelam, Irfan Sahibzada, Henry Senyondo, Charles Waiswa, Trevor Bukenya, Bilal Hassun and Riazat Ali Shah Officials: Jackson Kavuma, Stephen Ogonji Tikolo, Habiba Kulusumu Anguyo
President's XI squad: Ushantha (HBK), Gayan (Galfar Al Misnad), Anoop (Tusker), Phillip (CBQ), Khalid Khateeb (Royal Stars), Mujeeb-Ur Rehman (Feroz Youngsters), Shahid (Royal Stars), Noman Sarvar (Feroz Youngsters), Mansoor Khalid (Qatar Airways), Mohamed Mirza (Police), Moiz Siddiqui (ex-under-19 player), Awais Junior (Royal Stars), Omran Hussain (Qatari Diar), Mugheeb (HBK), Waleed (CBQ), Harris Butt (Al Feroz), Nafees (Qatari Diar) and Hussain Khan (ex-under-19 player)
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