Zimbabwe newspaper labelling UAE as 'rag-tag team of amateurs' is 'grossly unfair', says Dougie Brown

Denzil Pinto 24/03/2018
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Praise for his players: Dougie Brown was delighted with how his team played in Zimbabwe

Head coach Dougie Brown has hit back at a Zimbabwe newspaper for describing his side as “a rag-tag team of amateurs” after the African country’s World Cup dream was ended by the UAE on Thursday.

The Herald, Zimbabwe’s most-prominent daily publication, published a piece on their back page on Friday morning criticising their national team’s exit.

“Out of respect for 15 million Zimbabweans around the world and 15,000 fans who packed Harare Sport Club to capacity, still being tormented by the dumping of the ‘Choking Chevrons’ from the World Cup from a rag-tag team of amateurs from the United Arab Emirates, we won’t show you any picture on this front page from that disaster but just this black background to mourn the day our cricket died, a slow and painful death,” it read.

The UAE, who turned professional in July 2016, put on a fine performance to win by three runs for their first victory against a Test nation. Zimbabwe needed to beat either the West Indies or the UAE to reach next year’s cricketing showpiece in England and Wales but were beaten by Brown’s men, while Afghanistan turned over Ireland on Friday to end their chances.

Brown responded back on Twitter prior to their departure on Friday night and after arriving in Dubai on Saturday morning, opened up on why he felt the newspaper was ‘grossly unfair’ to his team.

“I think we have shown so many positive things over the course over the tournament,” said the 48-year-old. “We played a very good game and we have proved to many people that we can be a force to be reckoned with.

“The comment from the newspaper was clearly that they were reeling from the fact that they didn’t qualify for the World Cup. I can’t do anything about that.

“But to call us ‘a rag-tag team of amateurs’ was grossly unfair and anyone who has saw that match will actually justify that, we’re not that and we’re far better than that.

“Not only did we win the game but over the course of the match, we deserved to win it because we showed better skill, more willingless to win. It’s grossly unfair to brand us what they did and that was why I was vocal in what I said.”

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Emirates Cricket Board's new ‘UAE Cricket Leagues’ to begin on Sunday

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ECB spokesperson: Zayed Abbas

Emirates Cricket Board plans to develop the game are set to continue by launching an inaugural five-tournament ‘UAE Cricket Leagues’ series, which begins on Sunday.

Over an 11-week period, between March to September, the Leagues will bring together all four councils – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai and Sharjah – to compete in Twenty20 and 50-over formats in boys, women’s and men’s categories. This will be played through a 28 match-schedule across the country.

“Emirates Cricket is very excited to launch the UAE Cricket Leagues,” said Zayed Abbas, Emirates Cricket spokesperson.

“We have a number of successful stand-alone tournaments in our National structure and calendar already, however we were also very aware of the need and opportunity to replicate the successful domestic leagues, of other full members, here in the UAE.

“After lengthy discussions with our Councils we conceptualised and implemented this series, which will bring the main categories and formats under one competitive, unified structure, one where the UAE’s four Councils will compete for a National Trophy, and ultimate glory, in T20 and 50-over formats of the game.”

“We are delighted with the support we have received from the Councils, and thank them for their commitment to the success of the Inaugural Leagues as well as to its future.”

Previous Under-16 and U-19 tournaments have provided the platform for their search in identifying players for upcoming international competitions and this year will be no different.

“Another very important aspect is that the Leagues create a best vs best from each Council, which will provide us with our primary vehicle to integrate with Emirates Cricket’s National Team selection and talent identification process,” added Abbas.

The U-16 tournament will be played from Sunday until Saturday, March 31, while the U-19 will compete in the 50-over series from April 2 to 7.

For the first time, there will also be a men’s T20 National League scheduled mid-April, followed by the men’s 50-over league as well as the T20 event in  September.

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Zimbabwe newspaper label UAE cricket team a bunch of 'amateurs'

David Cooper 23/03/2018
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UAE coach: Dougie Brown.

The Herald, Zimbabwe’s most prominent daily newspaper, branded the UAE Cricket Team a “rag-tag team of amateurs” after Dougie Brown’s side ended the country’s 2019 ICC World Cup qualification hopes on Thursday.

The headline, which prompted Brown to respond with the Tweet below, came after the UAE produced a fine performance to win by three runs (D/L) at Harare Sports Club and gain their first major victory in 15 one-day international encounters over a Full Member team.

Zimbabwe needed to beat either the West Indies or the UAE to reach next year’s cricketing showpiece in England and Wales but were beaten by Brown’s men, while Afghanistan turned over Ireland on Friday to end their chances.

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