Vriitya Aravind’s courage is in vain after UAE miss out on T20 World Cup to Nepal

Vriitya Aravind has opted out of having an X-ray on his injured hand to ensure he plays in UAE’s all-conquering match against Nepal.

The UAE wicketkeeper was hit on his right hand while batting against Hong Kong in their final group match at Mulpani on Thursday.

A win in that meant UAE faced Nepal a day later at the same venue in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier.

The winners of that game will qualify to play in the World Cup next year in the United States and the Caribbean. As such, Aravind didn’t want to miss out so he didn’t risk an injury scan, in case it showed a break.

He thanked Dr. Manish Pardeshi, the UAE physio, for getting him in a good shape to play. Aravind was given painkillers to take his place in the starting line-up, and wore a lightweight cast when batting.

Despite being limited by injury, and suffering another crushing blow at the exact same spot, he scored his highest T20 score since February 2022.

His heroic 64 did not come, however, as the UAE ended up losing by eight wickets to Nepal.

“I don’t like having my fingers scanned because I tend to keep (wicket) and break it,” said Aravind.

“I didn’t want anything playing in my mind before the game. Then I was hit in the same place again.

“I was taking a lot of painkillers before the game. I had a long night of recovery (Thursday) and big credit goes to our physio, who was with me until 12am.

“He was doing stimulants to reduce inflammation. It was always difficult for me to continue but we thought that if we bowl first I can try to fight and get through it.”

Before the performance, he did not take part in rehearsals, saying that his fingers were numb because of the actors.

Pardeshi cut the cast with five overs to go, and Aravind went on to deliver two sixes and a four off Abinash Bohara’s delivery.

“Until the 14th or 15th it was playing on my mind,” he said.

“It felt like there was something wrong with it because I had an actor. I thought, with five overs to go, ‘This is the World Cup we’re playing for, let me get this out.’

“I took it out, I thought what was going on, and I’m just going to play. Everything was top notch, that’s why I think it went so far. “

Muhammad Waseem, the UAE captain, praised Aravind’s effort, but said his side fell 25-30 after being bowled out for 134 for nine in their 20 overs.

“He is a strong person, a fighter, and he played very well but unfortunately we could not make a good total,” said Waseem.

The UAE was aiming to enter the second consecutive T20 World Cup, having played in Australia last year.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” said Aravind. “Everyone wants to play in the World Cup. It is every cricketer’s dream. Before you start playing professional cricket, you see the World Cup and want to be a part of it.

“Everything was our dream. But we are a young team, so hopefully we can come back and study with the same team for the next World Cup.”

Aravind himself is only 21 years old, but the match they played against Nepal was his 100th limited-overs international for the UAE.

There are many other young talents in the team. Aayan Khan turns 18 later this month, Aryansh Sharma is 18, Ali Naseer is 19, Alishan Sharafu and Nilansh Keswani are 20, Sanchit Sharma is 22 and Karthik Meiyappan 23.

Aravind thinks the younger team will be better off from their heartbreak experience in Kathmandu, as the younger Nepal team must have been after losing the same game to the UAE in Oman last year.

“It was the same in Nepal, as they had many youngsters when they played with us last year in Muscat in the semi-finals,” said Aravind.

“They were on the other side of things when we won, so they came here to get revenge, they did that.

“I hope we can learn from this. We are young and it is all part of the journey. It’s all about how you take this loss, and how you use it to prepare for the next tournament.

“I hope we can come back strong and start winning games.”

Updated: November 04, 2023, 7:08 AM