UAE players will be playing for central contracts when they line up against Netherlands in two competitive fixtures later this month.
In November, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) announced they will offer deals to their national cricketers as part of their plans of making the UAE a professional side.
It has been an issue that coach Aaqib Javed has called for since qualifying for last year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. And ECB chief executive officer David East insists that should be in place by February with 14 players being selected.
Besides their potential, performances against Netherlands in the 50-over World Cricket League on January 26 and 28 will be taken into consideration before the contracts are finalised.
“We are going ahead with central contracts and still trying to figure out how that will exactly work,” said East.
“But we are very close and would like to think by February that we’ll be up and running. We pick sides on the basis of the World Cricket League games coming up and their performances against Netherlands this month will be taken into consideration.”
East did not reveal the types of full-time contracts but insists it could run for two years.
“We’ve left it quite flexible but it’s got to be operated with our ability to afford it as well,” he said. “We believe 14 players will be involved in a form of contract but they will vary.
“Some of them may be given development contracts. These are players who we see maybe part of the future or maybe not quite ready or qualified yet. We do that so they can be kept on board so we can actually nurture them in the right platform of environment because that is the crucial thing.
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“Initially, most of them will be two year contracts but will depend on the individuals.”
On Saturday East completed three years in his role and while he’s delighted by the progress made by the UAE, the former Essex wicket-keeper acknowledges it will take time for the team to replicate their success that saw them qualify for the World Twenty20 and World Cup.
“There were a lot of players coming towards the end of their careers (after finishing the World Cup),” he said.
“We are going through a rebuilding phase now and that’s part of the excitement and trying to do things differently. We are trying to nurture the players and make sure the central contracts work and look to the future.
“It will be tough and there will be disappointments on the way in terms of results but totally committed to working on that for the future. The most important thing, is that we get to a situation where we have plans on when players leave, that there’s a good production line behind that and ensure players are ready to come in and press for places.”
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