x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Missing World Twenty20 Qualifier event must hurt UAE

Teams such as Oman and Bermuda are not as good as the UAE who did not qualify for the ICC tournament.

Ireland were in action against Scotland in Dubai on the weekend. A notable absentee from the World Twenty20 Qualifier is the UAE.
Ireland were in action against Scotland in Dubai on the weekend. A notable absentee from the World Twenty20 Qualifier is the UAE.

The World Twenty20 Qualifier, which is being played across Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, may be rich in colour, thanks to the presence of nations which were hitherto considered cricketing nonentities, such as Papua New Guinea, Italy and Denmark.

However, it is all the poorer for the absence of the host nation. It is no wonder Kabir Khan, the former UAE and now Afghanistan coach, wanted out before it had even started. And that his successor, Aaqib Javed, is not around to witness it.

This qualifying competition gets more difficult to watch by the day from a UAE perspective. How they are not here instead of the likes of Oman or Bermuda is beyond comprehension. The UAE were an over away from qualifying for the last World T20, in the Caribbean, before they were done in by Afghanistan.

Yet, somehow, this time around they did not even make it to the last 16, after losing just the one match in the pre-qualifying event in Nepal. Thus they missed out on their own party due to an inferior run-rate, as Nepal, Hong Kong and Oman advanced instead of them.

Yes, they played by the same rules as everyone else. And yes, that is the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

But it does not make it any easier to bear. Some sides here have been surprisingly competitive. The ICC must be delighted with the performances of PNG and Italy, for example, to date.

But some are woefully out of place. There is no way that the UAE's Gulf neighbours, Oman, are a better side than they are on the evidence of what they have shown so far. The UAE's players would be advised to stay away. Watching this would only drive them mad thinking about what might have been.

pradley@thenational.ae