Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Khurram Khan, who will play for Fly Emirates in the Pro ARCH Trophy that starts on Tuesday, believes many Emiratis are keen on cricket and have great talent.
Khurram Khan, who will play for Fly Emirates in the Pro ARCH Trophy that starts on Tuesday, believes many Emiratis are keen on cricket and have great talent.

Cricketers must earn the right to play

Khurram Khan, the UAE's Pakistani captain, says players must be selected on merit alone and not just to make up numbers.

DUBAI// There is only one UAE national in the 15-strong cricket squad who will play in the ICC World Cup Qualifier tournament next month, but team captain, Khurram Khan, is adamant that Emiratis must be selected on merit and not just to make up numbers. Khurram, 38, and from Pakistan, said a school grassroots programme was helping promote cricket among UAE nationals but he added the sport loses out to football in the hearts of Emiratis.

Gearing up for Tuesday's opener of the Emirates Airline Pro ARCH Trophy when, as part of Fly Emirates team, he will face the might of English counties Sussex, Essex, Middlesex, Surrey, Lancashire and Yorkshire, Khurram yesterday said UAE cricket was moving in the right direction. "For this World Cup qualification campaign we have one Emirati -the fast bowler, Fahad al Hashmi," said the left-handed batsman and left-arm spinner.

"For the last few years there have been two or three nationals on the squad but they had other commitments and couldn't make it." Khurram, one of eight current UAE players to have gone to the 2008 Asia Cup, agreed more Emiratis should be enticed to the team but he said all players must be there on merit. "The talent is definitely there among Emiratis," he said. "Some of the guys have been attending nets regularly and I think that is a good sign, but I'm not in favour of just offering them to come and play just to have Emiratis on the team.

"If they want to be in the UAE team they have to compete and they have to work hard and earn their place. These guys have great talent and there are some young, keen players, but they need to work on conditioning and prove they are the right standard." High-profile cricket games held in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah - and in the future at Dubai Sports City - raised the profile of the sport in the country and Khurram hoped a stronger cricketing tradition could be developed as a result.

"Getting kids interested is definitely the key," he said. "Right now the love of the game is not there, like compared to, say, football. But cricket is getting there with development programmes in schools - we are progressing. "There is team in the domestic league made up of UAE nationals and these guys, considering they are new to the game, are very good and show a lot of interest: that's encouraging."

Khurram will head to South Africa with his team for the all-important World Cup qualifier group games against Afghanistan, Denmark, Kenya, Netherlands and Bermuda following the Pro ARCH tournament. "The Pro ARCH is going to be important as the Fly Emirates team fields UAE players," he said. "It's great to play against the big names. "Members of the UAE team all have full-time jobs so to get good practice in is essential."


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National