T20 World Cup 2022: 7 Associate Players to Watch

7. Vriitya Aravind, UAE – Age: 20

Vriitya Aravind was a revelation for UAE in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier A (Photo: ICC)

20-year-old wicketkeeper-batter Vriitya Aravind was a revelation for UAE at the T20 World Cup Global Qualifier A earlier this year, scoring 267 runs at a Bradman-esque average of 89 and a strike rate of 154. He produced a series of outstanding and enterprising batting displays which saved UAE’s blushes at crucial moments and ultimately proved to be the difference between qualification and elimination.

Aravind’s success story is a testament to the strength of UAE’s youth pathway system which has been notable in the Associate world for producing skilful home-grown players. Recently elevated to the role of vice-captain, he travels to Australia alongside fellow U-19 graduates Aryan Lakra (20), Karthik Meiyappan (22), Alishan Sharafu (19) and 16-year-old schoolboy prodigy Aayan Afzal Khan. The wicketkeeper batter will be keen to make an impression at the tournament and further increase his profile in the wider cricket world.

The leadup to the World Cup has been marred by controversy for the Gulf Nation, particularly due to the shock omission of veteran Rohan Mustafa from the final squad and the surprise demotion of Ahmad Raza from captaincy. They will face off against Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Namibia in Group A for a spot in the Super-12 stage, a feat they have never achieved before.

Fun Fact: At 16 years of age, schoolboy prodigy Ayaan Afzal Khan is the youngest player selected for any team at the upcoming T20 World Cup. Khan was part of the UAE U-19 team which performed brilliantly at the 2022 U-19 World Cup in the Caribbean, beating full members West Indies and Ireland en route to a Plate Final victory and 9th placed finish!

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