The chief executive of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Syed Ashraful Haq, has urged countries in the region not to enter teams in next year's Asian Games. Haq is in the Emirates for the ACC Twenty20 Trophy, which Afghanistan won by beating the UAE at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi last night by 84 runs.
Test-playing nations India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will all send teams to next year's Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, but Haq has urged countries such as the UAE not to follow suit. Under a change of rules implemented by Asian Games organisers in March, only passport holders of the competing nations can take part. The UAE team which took part in the ACC T20 only had two Emiratis in their line-up.
The first side consisting solely of Emiratis has also been in action this weekend in the Gulf Cup, a tournament held at the Dubai Aluminium cricket pitch which is the first competition solely for nationals of Arab countries. Haq said this team should not consider travelling to China as they would be outclassed and embarrassed by their world-class opponents. "My conviction is that they should not: they should not undermine the tournament," he said.
"They cannot send a team who cannot play the game. They cannot bowl out a team like India or Pakistan and then get bowled out for 10. "It will undermine the whole game and also jeopardise our chances of taking the game forward. It takes out all the countries from the Middle East." Haq said he had no problems with Afghanistan entering as they have achieved one-day international status. Abdulrazzaq Kazim, manager of the all-Emirati UAE side, dismissed Haq's comments and said the Emirates will enter.
"I have worked with Ashraful Haq for many years and have never heard him give a good piece of advice," he said. "Why should we listen to him now? We will go. Of course, if we play against India or Sri Lanka or Pakistan, we will lose. But if we don't go, from where will get the experience? It is of benefit for us to go and play there. "If we go and play, and then the next time we go again and make the same mistakes and fail to improve, then come back and ask again. But we will benefit, of that I am sure."
Dilawar Mani, chief executive of the Emirates Cricket Board, said the UAE had every right to enter . "Of course we are not in the same level of the elite teams but if China can field a team as the host, why not the others," he said. "We will monitor the performance of the all-Emirati team in the Gulf Cup." Dad Mohammed al Baloushi, manager of the Oman team who finished third in the ACC T20 Trophy, said: "I don't see an all-Oman team being good enough to compete with the elite, but it can be a learning curve for us and would encourage Omanis to play cricket."