Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
UAE’s Shadeep Silva, second left, celebrates.
UAE’s Shadeep Silva, second left, celebrates.

The chance to steal the limelight

First the Afghans took the UAE's status as the continent's best side – outside of the big four Test nations.

Given the wider problems in the world beyond the boundary, it is glib to suggest there has been a turf war going on between the UAE and Afghanistan in recent years.

But within the confines of the glorious distraction that is cricket, the rivalry that has emerged between the two nations has been unquestionable.

Time was, the UAE were out on their own in Asia among the countries who operate beyond the Test game. Then the Afghanistan Cricket fairy tale emerged from the ravages of war.

First the Afghans took the UAE's status as the continent's best side - outside of the big four Test nations.

Then they took the ACC Trophy which for so many years had seemed to be UAE cricket's own private plaything.

And the Afghans even took the idea of muscling in on opposition territory literally. They play their "home" international matches at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, at the generosity of the ground's owners while the security situation precludes touring sides from going there.

UAE cricket had not exactly stood still, but it was still taken over. And by taken over, read barged out of the way like an impatient, light-flashing 4x4 driver in the outside lane of the Sheikh Zayed Road. Afghanistan have been to major ICC competitions twice. The current generation of UAE cricketers, meanwhile, have had to look on with envy.

"When we see them playing [at major tournaments like the World Twenty20], we are not against them because we see them as another Asian team going forward," said Ahmed Raza, the UAE spinner.

"But when we see ourselves not going through, even though we are beating them every time, it really is heartbreaking."

The UAE are not done yet, though. Not by a long stretch. Conquer Nepal on home soil today, and they will have their ACC Trophy back for the first time in three attempts.

And, thanks in no small part to two wins over the Afghans last year, they are in good shape in the ongoing qualifying competition for the next 50-over World Cup.

It is understandable that Afghanistan have hogged the limelight at this level of cricket in recent years, given the back story, the huge potential for the game there, as well as their extraordinary exploits on the field.

But today could mark the latest phase in the re-emergence of Asian cricket's original - if lapsed - emerging nation.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National