UAE head coach Dougie Brown has told his players to treat every match of their World Cricket League Division Two as a “final”, saying there’s no room for error if they want to advance to next month’s 2019 World Cup Qualifiers.
The UAE open their campaign against Kenya at the Namibian capital of Windhoek on Thursday as they bid to seal one of the two spots and join the likes of West Indies, Afghanistan and Ireland in the final qualifying round in Zimbabwe.
Canada, Nepal, Namibia and Kenya all stand in the UAE’s way over the next 10 days and Brown insists his players need to hit the ground running if they want to achieve their goal.
“That’s exactly what we’re going to do (treat each game as a final),” said Brown. “We know we can’t afford to slip up in a half an hour period or getting a couple of overs wrong.
“Every game will be of intense pressure and we have to play each game as if it’s a final. That’s what we as a coaching team is trying to make the players understand when we were here in Pretoria. Every single ball is an important one and it’s the same in fielding. The game can instantly change within a blink of an eye.
“We’re getting up to that where every ball is equally important and we can’t afford to have eight players focused and three are not – it has to be done as a team. We know if we can get that right, we can be a handful for anyone as some players are playing some really good cricket. We go into the tournament confident but we are only as good as our attitude.”
.@dougie1brown is a man of many #sporting talents!#UAE #Cricket @ICC #WCL Division 2 preparation camp #Pretoria #SouthAfrica @Sport360 @NatSportUAE @GulfNewsSport @DubaiEyeSport @ANIBDXB @tykasports @ICCAcademy pic.twitter.com/vXQWiRY0Ba
— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) February 1, 2018
The UAE go into the tournament on the back of a morale-boosting victory over Scotland in the home tri-series which involved Ireland, as well as a series of practice matches against Afghanistan.
Among those to impress is No.4 batsman Rameez Shahzad, who struck two fifties and a century, while Shaiman Anwar scored a ton against Afghanistan.
Brown is pleased his batsmen are beginning to click at a crucial period but stressed it’s important they continue to put in consistent performances in Namibia.
“We know our batters are performing well. What we need to do is how to play a tournament because it’s different to a one-off game where you can have a good performance,” said the 48-year-old.
“We’re trying to adapt the players to playing tournament cricket. What we are keen to show is that we can play a different game and we have players who can play exceptionally well. This will be a huge challenge. If we play the tournament well, it fits up nicely for Zimbabwe. If we don’t do it well, then we don’t know what exactly will happen. We don’t want to be playing Division Two or Division Three cricket. It’s incredibly important for all of us to get this tournament spot on. Everything I’ve seen shows that we’re tracking on really well.”
The International cricket Council will continue its investigation into a Twenty20 match in the United Arab Emirates as it believes there is “strong evidence to indicate this was a corrupt event”.
The Ajman All Stars event was not sanctioned by the ICC, UAE cricket board (ECB) or, reportedly, the Ajman cricket Council but came to wider attention when a video appearing to show several bizarre dismissals from the match went viral on social media.
A number of stumpings without batsmen attempting to make their ground and farcical run-outs led to a probe from the ICC’s anti-corruption unit.
While it acknowledges the ICC and the ECB cannot take action because they did not approve the event, the target will now be on identifying the organisers to prevent a repeat occurrence.
Alex Marshall, the general manager of the ICC anti-corruption unit said: “The event was not approved or in any way sanctioned by the Emirates cricket Board (ECB) and therefore neither the ECB nor the ICC has authority to take action under cricket’s anti-corruption rules against anybody who may have engaged in any corrupt practice.
“However after speaking to a number of those involved we consider there to be strong evidence to indicate this was a corrupt event and damaging to the wider reputation of cricket and as such will continue the investigation.
“Our ongoing enquiries will now focus on identifying the organisers of the tournament to prevent similar incidents occurring elsewhere and to disrupt corrupt practices wherever we can.
“In addition, all member boards whose players have participated in this event will be asked to consider whether by doing so, those players are in breach of any other applicable rules, including those that prohibit participation in unsanctioned cricket, and if so for disciplinary action to be taken against them.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
News that the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) are set to announce plans of expanding their Inter-Emirate competition with men’s and women’s categories is another positive move by the country’s governing body and one that really shouldn’t be a surprise.
It’s been three years since the ECB launched their first Inter-Emirate tournament, in April 2015, with Abu Dhabi reigning supreme in the Under-19 competition. It was the start of a new road back then and since then, only the Under-16 competition has been added to the schedule.
With the best talents of Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ajman battling for glory, it is more than just being crowned champions of the Inter-Emirate tournament. This is a chance for the ECB to see what talent there is in the UAE, identify the best and groom them for upcoming competitions.
It has taken time, but the last three months has shown that the hard working is paying off. Just in November, the UAE won all their three matches to qualify for the Under-19 Asian Cup for just the second time.
And then earlier this month, the UAE were celebrating another triumph when their U-16 side were crowned Asian Cricket Council’s Western Region champions on home soil.
But as with any other sporting team, it’s crucial to remain competitive and continue planning.
With the platform already there at youth level, the ECB will be hoping that transitions into the men’s and women’s categories. The ECB are set to officially announce the 2018 competition next month, it will likely follow the same footprint as the U-16 and U-19 events.
That bodes well for the domestic cricketers who are dreaming of playing for the UAE. You only have to visit any ground or empty car park to see the sheer numbers on a weekend who have a passion for the game, but are yet to be noticed.
The Inter-Emirate tournament could be just that opportunity. Of course, they will need to make their respective emirate’s squad and then impress in the competition, but it’s a chance to catch the eye of the UAE officials of those who could go on and play for the national team one day.
As for the women, the move to introduce their own competition will be a huge boost to attract females to the game.
Despite few domestic tournaments, the UAE continue to create the headlines and rise in international cricket with their latest triumph seeing them qualify for the World Twenty20 qualifiers in July.
An annual competition will certainly improve their chances of developing as a player, although it might take time to attract new followers to the game.
But with players aiming to impress and ECB looking to create a pool of talented cricketers for future competitions, it’s a win-win situation for all.