Perth: Refusing to be intimidated by the star-studded Indian cricket team, United Arab Emirates skipper Mohammad Tauqir said his side will treat the World Cup clash against the defending champions as "just another game".
"We know they are big stars, but we will take this game like the last previous two games. The intensity is going to be the same, and we'll take it like just another game. We will not be intimidated by their names or their status," Tauqir said at the pre-match media conference here today.
Tauqir had made his ODI debut against India in Asia Cup in Sri Lanka back in 2004 when he had taken VVS Laxman's wicket and the 43-year-old is expecting a repeat of that.
"Of course, we'd like to do well. All the boys are looking forward to this game. I mean, yeah, that game was a long time back. In the last few games, the fielding boys have done a good job and everybody would like to repeat a good performance."
The UAE team is a mix of local players as well as players of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan origin. The skipper feels that having a number of Indians pitted against India isn't a problem at all.
"Absolutely not. That is not an issue in the dressing room. I mean, if you look at UAE as a country, it's a very cosmopolitan country, more than 16 nationalities living there.
Most of these boys are living there for over 10 to 15 years and UAE is now like a home for them. So that's not an issue (Indians vs India) at all," the skipper reiterated.
UAE have batted well in both matches scoring in excess of 275 against Zimbabwe and Ireland but haven't been able to defend. The skipper says that it's not a case of "stage fright" for them.
"The Zimbabwe game was close. The Ireland game was even closer, so we are getting closer to the win. We know we're playing well. Mentally everybody is very, very calm. We're not getting emotional by the situation. We are taking it easy, sticking to our basics and doing the basics right and enjoying the game."
"If you look at the Zimbabwe match and game against Ireland after that, there's definitely been an overall improvement in performance. The Zimbabwe game was over in 47th and Ireland went up to the last over. So we're getting closer to the victory. Everybody's enjoying this event and playing a good cricket," Tauqir said.
The UAE skipper stressed on the fact that his batsmen need to convert those 30s and 40s into big scores.
"Yeah, I think we need to turn the 30s and 40s into bigger scores, and Shaiman (Anwar) has shown that in the last game. Yeah, we've have had a bit of lapse in concentration in the middle, but we know our middle order can put up a bigger inning and this is the chat we had in the dressing room. I'm sure we'll look at some bigger innings during this tournament," Tauqir said.
UAE's fielding has left a lot to be desired but Tauqir is hopeful that things will change in the game against India.
"We've been working very hard on all our cricket and especially on our fielding. We have put in a lot of hard work.
Maybe we have missed four or five chances. We missed a few direct throws. The boys are putting a lot of hard work in fielding. But, overall, it was a satisfactory effort in the last two games," the skipper said in defence.
Tauqir is looking at the positive side of having to play two matches in a gap of two days in between.
"I think in a way it's good that we build that momentum from the last game and didn't have to wait very long. So the only issue was a bit of travelling. We finished the game in the night and we had an early morning flight to Perth.
"So that was a little bit tiring. But I think the momentum is good, and we would like to carry this momentum into the next game also," Tauqir concluded.