(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The eight-week break, was perhaps a blessing in disguise for Rohan Mustafa. The forced hiatus gave the 30-year-old time to reflect and put things in perspective. And it also helped that Mustafa embarked on the journey of fatherhood, with his wife giving birth to their first child.
Mustafa flew to Chile where his brother and sister-in-law reside, to be beside his wife as they ushered in son Arhaam on February 17.
And returning to the cricketing fold from the suspension, Mustafa, with a new-found zest for life, engineered the UAE's T20 International series win over format debutants US on Saturday.
The opener played a fine hand of 45 from 38 deliveries with seven boundaries and along with top scorer Shaiman Anwar, the southpaw added 81 runs in an alliance for the second wicket.
That as well as tidy bowling and fielding meant that the UAE won by 24 runs to take the series 1-0 at the ADIB Warriors Oval at the ICC Academy. The first T20 International, a landmark occasion for the US ended in a no result because of rain.
Being a new father has meant many a sleepless night but Mustafa wouldn't trade it for anything.
It is a great feeling to be a father," Mustafa said in a chat after the game.
"Lot of people had told me that whenever you have a kid, it will be very different when you take him in your arms. And it is true. Whenever I'm sad because I've not performed on the field, I go to him and I forget everything. It is a different feeling," he gushed.
Meanwhile, Mustafa said that he used the break away from cricket to work on his batting, especially his on-side. He also felt that his and the absence of Rameez Shahzad and Ahmed Raza also gave the UAE to strengthen the bench.
"It was a weird time but I think it was good for us as well as the team because few other players got an opportunity to play. If you want to go higher, you need a good back up and a good bench strength because sometimes you get injured," opined Mustafa.
Mustafa was the captain prior to the ban enforced by the Emirates Cricket Board and the ECB opted to retain Muhammad Naveed as the skipper. Mustafa said it felt a bit different initially but added that he is always on hand to give advice when needed.
"If you are the captain and you have been removed for some reason, you still do feel it (getting into the thick of things). Other than that, I play for my team and whoever is the captain, it doesn't matter. But we keep speaking and I did give him (Naveed) some advice with regard to bowling changes whenever required," he explained.
Meanwhile, talking of babies, the US were taking their first baby steps after being accorded T20I status and they gave a decent account of themselves with southpaw Steven Taylor being one of the bright spots.
UAE: 182-7 in 20 overs (Shaiman Anwar 62, Rohan Mustafa 45, H Walsh 2-21, Saurabh Netravalkar 2-28, T Patel 2-45) beat US: 158-6 in 20 overs (Steven Taylor 49, Xavier Marshall 31, Jaskaran Malhotra 21, Sultan Ahmed 3-33, Zahoor Khan 2-22) by 24 runs.
Man of the Match: Shaiman Anwar (UAE).