With the Asian Games just a little more than seven months away, Emirati cricket officials are in a tight spot. The UAE's current side is made up mostly of Pakistani residents of the country, but under the rules of the competition the team must be limited to Emirati citizens. The problem is that Emirati cricketers, while keen to take part in the Games, are relatively inexperienced alongside powerhouses Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. If records are any indication, they are likely to suffer defeat by a wide margin at the competition, to be held in Guangzhou, China.
The officials who oversee the sport in the UAE are said to be reluctant to suffer the embarrassment of the Emirati-only side facing the lions of international cricket. They have turned aside written requests from Emirati cricketers for support. Certainly, there is no glory in being fodder for more powerful and experienced sides, especially in a sport beloved by hundreds of millions of people. Still, we need not point out that in the realm of sport, the thrill of victory is, by necessity, always preceded by the agony of defeat. The history of sport is chock-full of worst-to-first stories.
In sport, nothing compares to the experience and pride of representing one's country on the international stage. Emiratis should be given both that opportunity and that honour.