Kerala-born cricketer CP Rizwan is living his childhood dream with the UAE

Chundangapoil is living the dream of Putiapurail Rizwan. The 34-year-old from Thalassery is leading the UAE in the T20 Asia Cup qualifiers in Oman and has become the first Kerala-born cricketer to captain a country in international tournaments.

“Leading the UAE is a great honor and a dream come true when I started playing cricket. Thanks to coach Robin Singh and the Emirates Cricket Board for believing in me. Captaincy carries a lot of responsibility. I will try to live up to the huge expectations,” he said. The Hindu.

With his career going nowhere and his dream of representing Kerala in the Ranji Trophy almost over, CP Rizwan took a momentous decision to migrate to the UAE in 2014. Former Kerala Ranji Trophy player CTK Masood offered him an opportunity to play club cricket in Dubai and Rizwan grabbed it with both hands.

An engineering graduate, Rizwan even sacrificed a secure central government job to achieve his goal and toiled for four years in the UAE domestic circuit, finally qualifying to play for the country in ICC tournaments.

“I was tempted to go back when I got a job in the postal department but decided to go back because I thought there was a better opportunity to represent the UAE in international cricket. I have no regrets,” said Rizwan, who represented Kerala in junior cricket.

He made his debut for the UAE against Nepal in 2019, but he progressed in 2021 by scoring a century against Test-playing nation Ireland in a one-day international match in the UAE. Rizwan’s century gunned down a huge UAE score and in the process, he became the first Kerala-born cricketer to score a century in international cricket.

“Century opened up a world of opportunities for me. Suddenly, I became an overnight celebrity and was invited to many functions here (UAE) and at home in Thalassery. But I didn’t get away because I practiced hard and counted every opportunity,” said Rizwan, adding that a win in the UAE qualifiers will give them a chance to play India.

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