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ICC World Cup 2015: UAE cricketer an officer with Dubai police

Fahad Alhashmi, an officer with Dubai Police, is playing the gentleman's game at the highest level, on the biggest, most popular and daunting stage, the World Cup.

Wisden India Staff |February 28, 2015, 2:20 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2015: UAE cricketer an officer with Dubai police

Perth: Remember Dwayne Leverock? The big man from Bermuda who defied girth and gravity to smartly grab on to an edge from Robin Uthappa at the 2007 World Cup? Remember what his day job was? Yeah, a cop. Surely, crime rates in Bermuda must be pretty low?

Now, meet Fahad Alhashmi. From the United Arab Emirates. An officer with Dubai Police. Playing the gentleman's game at the highest level, on the biggest, most popular and daunting stage, the World Cup.

Fahad, 32, is just one of two UAE nationals, apart from Mohammad Tauqir, the skipper, in the 15 doing duty at the World Cup. He is a big, strong, strapping lad - all solid muscle as opposed to Leverock's adipose - who speaks softly but with passionate excitement. He is yet to get a game in this competition - 'He is good, can swing the ball. His time will come soon,' Md Redha Abbas, UAE's chief selector, tells this correspondent - but he is already a proud World Cupper basking in the beauty of the competition, in the opportunity to meet and learn from past and present masters.

Fahad started off as a goalkeeper in football, graduated to wicketkeeping duties in school, then was initiated into bowling quick because of his height. "My coach, Mr Altaf, he brought me on as a bowler into the team. He told me your height is good, so you can be a good fast bowler. I changed from wicketkeeper to a fast bowler," recalls Fahad of his days at Our Own English High School in Sharjah. "Cricket was a big sport in our school, sport itself was a big deal. First they said they needed me as a sportsman, as a goalkeeper in football. They then shifted me to the cricket team. They said they were missing a wicketkeeper, so they made me keep wickets. Then Mr Altaf shifted me to fast bowling. It was a really great time then - I played in the inter-school tournament, and the selectors were impressed with what they saw. I then went on an Under-19 tour, I played my first Under-19 game in Nepal. I did well over there also, and that's how I made it to the national side."

Even though chances to play at the international level have been few and far in between, Fahad is happy to bide his time while contributing his bit to keeping the wheel spinning smoothly. He has played only four One-Day Internationals since his debut in June 2008, and is happy enough to admit that he never thought he would be at a World Cup representing his country.

"No, I never imagined this," Fahad, who has been with Dubai Police for 12 years, tells Wisden India so softly that you have to lean in to catch the words. "The last time UAE played in the World Cup was in 1996, I never thought I would myself ever get to play in a World Cup. But these guys, all of us, we have worked hard and qualified for the World Cup. I am thankful to them, I am thankful to Aaqib Javed (the coach) and Mudassar Nazar (the batting consultant) - they did a very good job in helping us qualify for the World Cup. It was a dream for many of us, and that dream has come true now - to play a World Cup and to be a part of the World Cup.

"I am representing my country at the World Cup. There is no such thing as one or two UAE nationals in the team, we are all nationals in the team. There are no Indians or Pakistanis in the team. We all are one, we will do our level best. Till now, we have done a very good job as a team. You can say it was a sign of maturity and a love for cricket that brought us all together, unaffected by our different backgrounds and nationalities as they are defined," he continues. "We guys used to play domestic together, so we know each other from a long time. We used to see each other often when we played for our academy and our employers."

Ah, the employers. So, how much cricket-aware is the Dubai Police? "My officers, first of all, they don't know what cricket is," he smiles somewhat sheepishly, but quickly recovers with, "but they support me a lot. They keep telling me to go out and play for the country. If I have a match on the same day I have work as well, I would give them a call, and they would to tell me just go and play cricket.

"My working hours are only eight hours, so after working hours, I used to play in the cricket grounds in Sharjah during my early days with Dubai Police," he continues. "At that time, we used to play in Sharjah, but now we are able to play in Dubai itself because we have a quality ground, and it is easier to commute from work to practice. Also, my uncle used to play cricket in his younger days, so apart from my employers, I got plenty of support from my family. I am really thankful to my family and to my friends, who haven't just encouraged me but often pushed me to go and play cricket."

Cricket and policing - two completely different vocations, but Fahad insists there is one common thread. "As a police officer, my job is totally different from this (playing cricket), but there is something that keeps the two connected," Fahad insists. "To be sincere, that's a very big lesson from cricket - to be sincere in everything. When you do something, just do it from your heart, and you will be successful in your endeavours."

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4659 119
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3270 99
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 9349 260
see more