The ICC Academy at Dubai Sports City and the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) today announced a strategic partnership that will play a pivotal role in preparing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) squad for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup (ICC CWC) in Australia and New Zealand.
The agreement, in the form of a rolling contract, sees the state-of-the-art facility become a hub for the squad’s training.
It will also involve the ICC Academy staff, including Head of Development Mudassar Nazar, the former Pakistan all-rounder, and strength and conditioning expert Peter Kelly, assisting in the squad’s preparations for the mega-event. Mudassar will work as the squad’s batting coach and Peter will fill the role of head of sports science.
The UAE side will play matches at the ICC Academy’s ovals against Pakistan A, a New Zealand XI and four One-Day Internationals (ODI) against Afghanistan during the latter part of this year.
That is on top of practice on the ICC Academy’s ‘WACA’ and ‘Gabba’ pitches, the surfaces prepared with soil from Australia, ahead of an acclimatisation tour of that country later this month, and an ICC High Performance Programme (ICC HPP) camp at the ICC Academy in November alongside the three other ICC CWC qualifiers – Afghanistan, Ireland and Scotland.
ECB Chief Executive Officer David East said: “We are delighted to formalise this arrangement with the ICC Academy at Dubai Sports City.
“The ECB and the UAE national team has already made enormous strides in the past year with qualification for the ICC World Twenty20 and the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“This agreement will provide us with a fantastic set of resources to continue that progress.
“We have truly world-class facilities on our doorstep at Dubai Sports City and by linking up with the ICC Academy in this way we will ensure that we make maximum use of them, giving us access to those facilities at a time when we are all at full throttle getting ready for cricket’s biggest showpiece.”
UAE National Coach Aqib Javed, an ICC Cricket World Cup winner with Pakistan the previous time the tournament was staged in Australia and New Zealand in 1992, added: “This is great news. The fact we are holding training sessions at the ICC Academy which has all manner of the latest technology and resources to assist us can only benefit the players and me as we seek to develop and also to get ready for the ICC Cricket World Cup.
“And from a coaching and administrative point of view, to have access to people like Mudassar and Peter will allow us to develop at a rapid rate over the coming months.”
The ICC Academy will also play a role in assisting the ECB, its players and support staff, in an administrative capacity following the UAE’s move into the top tier of Associate cricket, including managing the ECB’s High Performance Programme. The move up to that top tier follows on from the UAE side securing ICC CWC qualification and ODI status at the ICC World Cup Qualifier event in New Zealand in January and February of this year.
Dubai Sports City President Mr Khalid Al Zarooni said: “This new arrangement represents an exciting new development in the success story of Dubai Sports City.
“It illustrates the fact that we are not only a hub for the sporting world through our world-class facilities but also that we are the perfect location for the development of sport within the United Arab Emirates."
ICC Academy Manager Will Kitchen, who will manage the UAE’s High Performance Programme as part of the new arrangement, said: “Agreements like this are a key part of what the ICC Academy can do – assisting in the development of top Associate sides like the UAE.
“We will be providing facilities, expertise, staff and resources for the UAE, as well as the other High Performance Programme countries involved in the ICC Cricket World Cup during a HPP camp in November, and we look forward to playing an integral role in the continuing development of cricket in the UAE not only in the short term but also way beyond next February and March’s ICC Cricket World Cup.”
Dubai Sports City General Manager – Sports Business Maqbul Dudhia said: “Dubai Sports City is proud to be the location for the ICC Academy, a truly world-class facility.
“We look forward to this agreement being the start of a long and fruitful relationship between the ICC Academy at Dubai Sports City and the Emirates Cricket Board as all go from strength to strength.”
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