Sunday, December 8, 2019
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New Zealand team not far from home crowd in UAE

Sharjah: The New Zealand Under-19 team have a strong army of cheerleaders in the pavilion. What’s all the more encouraging is that parents and relatives who have flown in all the way to encourage the youngsters make for a sizeable number of these fans. They cheer for every stroke and every good delivery waving their national flag.

At the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the New Zealand fans sat with their country’s flag prominently displayed on the railings for the match against UAE. Besides their parents, some players even have their grandparents, siblings and even aunts cheering them on.

Kyle Jamieson, whom bowling Coach Dayle Hadlee sees as one of the most promising pacers in the team, is among those who has his father Michael Jamieson watching him closely from the pavilion.

Speaking to Gulf News, Michael said: “I wanted to see him perform in conditions different from those at home. I make sure to attend some of his important matches in Auckland and I am enjoying every moment here. Though the weather is cold, it is warm for us.”

Jamieson had produced a fine spell of four for 49 against Sri Lanka in the first match of the Under-19 World Cup.

Left-handed Henry Collier has his grandparents backing him. Diana Grace, the grandmother of Collier said: “I am enjoying every moment with seven to eight families of the players. This world cup is a wonderful opportunity and experience for these boys. What has impressed me the most is that all of them are playing for the team and not themselves.”

It was a proud moment for Mark Hick. His son Shawn Hick was the second highest scorer for New Zealand against the UAE with 70 runs. “He loved cricket from the age of five and so I made sure to support him with the best of coaching. He was born in South Africa, so I helped him get trained in many academies in South Africa,” said Mark, who does not play cricket but backs his son by travelling with him.

New Zealand opening batsman Raki Weerasundara who was born in Sri Lanka has the support of his father Asoka Weerasundara and his mother Rangika as well as his sister and aunt. He gave New Zealand a good start against the UAE with a knock of 33 runs. “It’s lovely to be here especially in a place where there are many Sri Lankans and also it was an experience for my son to play against Sri Lanka.”