“This talented duo are now academy legends. Their achievements are testament to our brilliant community-focused Zayed Cricket Academy product and our unrivalled coaching staff” - Matt Boucher, ADCSH CEO
Tuesday, 30 May 2023 - Abu Dhabi: Zayed Cricket Academy (ZCA) batter Ethan D'Souza, 17, has received his first call-up to the UAE senior men's national team.
D'Souza has been selected by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) as part of its 22-player squad for the upcoming series against the West Indies that starts 4 June.
The Grade 12 Abu Dhabi Indian School student, who discovered his selection after checking his phone when he left school, has been in superb form domestically and recently captained Team Abu Dhabi to U19 ECB Inter-Emirates glory.
"We had a message from the coach in our WhatsApp group and since then, I've just tried to soak it all in," said D'Souza. "I told my mum and dad first and they were just as excited as I was. This was our goal, especially for my dad, so I'm happy to have done it for us all."
Ethan’s run of sparkling domestic form earned him a spot in a pre-selection senior team training camp and his call-up to the national men's team follows his UAE U19 debut earlier this year. Ethan now plans to continue learning in the senior environment.
"Training has been great fun," said D'Souza. "It's been very easy to gel with the squad and everyone's been helpful. It doesn't feel like I'm a junior and I'm now really excited to play with everyone. My goal now is to look forward to this series, to win it and learn from both my team and our opponents how to play 50-over cricket.
"I'd also like to thank all of my coaches throughout the years at Zayed Cricket Academy. It's been a long time since I joined at seven-years-old, and I have now achieved my initial goal. They've given me a platform to showcase my skills and, although it's already been a long journey, there's so much more to come."
Ethan, who made his professional franchise debut with Team Abu Dhabi at the Abu Dhabi T10 last December, is joined in the UAE squad by ZCA graduate, Jonathan Figy.
Like Ethan, Jonathan is a stylish left-handed batter. He recently returned to the capital from studies in the UK and struck two half-centuries for Team Abu Dhabi in the recently concluded D50 tournament. He was with ZCA from the age of eight to 19 and the pair's selection marks a proud moment for everyone associated with the academy.
Mervyn Pereira, Manager Zayed Cricket Academy, said: “Based on their consistent performances across age-groups and men’s cricket over the last few years, we knew that it was only a matter of time before they made it to the National squad. Ethan is one of the brightest teenage prospects in the UAE and has worked extremely hard on his fitness and all-round game the last few years. Jonathan has paid extra attention to his fitness and fielding in the last one year, areas that the coaches pointed out he needed to improve. The call-up to the UAE squad is a proud moment for us at the academy and is an immediate return on our clear pathway programme.
Matt Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub, which hosts the ZCA commented: “This talented duo are now academy legends. Their achievements are testament to our brilliant community-focused Zayed Cricket Academy product and our unrivalled coaching staff”
Both Ethan and Jonathan will be hoping to do enough to impress during the West Indies series, with the UAE's ICC World Cup Qualifying campaign starting in Zimbabwe later this month.
Full UAE player list for three-match ODI series against West Indies:
Mohammad Waseem (c), Aayan Khan, Aditya Shetty, Ali Naseer, Ansh Tandon, Aryansh Sharma, Asif Khan, Basil Hameed, Ethan D’Souza, Fahad Nawaz, Jonathan Figgy, Junaid Siddique, Karthik Meiyappan, Lovepreet Singh, Matiullah, Mohammed Faraazuddin, Muhammad Jawadullah, Rameez Shahzad, Rohan Mustafa, Sanchit Sharma, Vriitya Aravind and Zahoor Khan.