A top Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) official has revealed the board plans to offer more central contacts to players after the UAE retained their ODI status.
Their national side reached the Super Six stage of the World Cup Qualifier despite losing by 226 runs to Ireland in their group game on Monday. But they still finished within the top three Associate sides between themselves, Scotland, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Nepal to maintain their ODI status.
The UAE’s success in the last 12 months where they have registered 50-over series wins against Netherlands, Oman and Papua New Guinea is largely down to having a team of professional cricketers. In July 2016, the ECB handed out contracts to 12 players for the first time in history.
With ODI status now sealed until 2022, the ECB will receive funding from the ICC. And Zayed Abbas, board member of ECB, says the country’s governing body will look to add to that number in the future.
“Of course, definitely,” he said. “There will be more players getting contracts. You just have to have the right players to offer them contracts. There are plenty of players who are willing to get a contract and we’re looking for the best of the best in the UAE.
“We don’t have a certain time frame (to hand contracts). You have to have the right player. It’s been a good year, we had good sponsorship deals and with this achievement, it’s really positive.”
The UAE clinched their ODI status with victories over Netherlands and Papua New Guinea in the World Cup Qualifier. Although their chances of reaching their third World Cup are slim with just the top two teams from the Super Six stage going through, Abbas believes retaining ODI status will help develop the game.
“It was our main objective to get ODI status,” he said. “We have four years to perform and test our capabilities. This is a great achievement and we were pretty confident and were able to do that. The team was performing professionally in the last three or four months and the results have been positive. With another four years to go, we will definitely show a different side to UAE cricket.”
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