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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

Aaqib Javed open to UAE cricket touring his native Pakistan

Leading cricket nations have been unwilling to tour Pakistan since the 2009 ambush of the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore and Pakistan have used the grounds of the UAE in exile since then, writes Paul Radley.
Former Pakistani fast bowler and UAE coach Aaqib Javed wants to take his side on a tour of Pakistan. Delores Johnson / The National
Former Pakistani fast bowler and UAE coach Aaqib Javed wants to take his side on a tour of Pakistan. Delores Johnson / The National

WELLINGTON // Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, said his side would be happy to tour Pakistan if it meant getting more one-day international (ODI) exposure.

Leading cricket nations have been unwilling to tour Pakistan since the 2009 ambush of the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

Pakistan have used the grounds of the UAE in exile since then, but have constantly expressed the desire to revive international cricket in their home country.

The UAE have full one-day international status, yet have been starved of matches against top sides, other than the six matches they will play at this World Cup.

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Aaqib, who won the 1992 World Cup as a bowler with Pakistan, thinks touring his homeland would be of great benefit to the national team.

He said there should be two ODIs per year as a reciprocal arrangement between the two nations.

“When we asked ICC if they could push bigger teams to play against Associates, they said, ‘If you want to play you have your own relationship’,” Aaqib said.

“I think UAE are in a good position to ask Pakistan to give us one or two games, or at this stage to go there and play one or two games against Pakistani teams.

“I think the ICC should tag an Associate team with one Full Member, so they can look after them, call them to come and compete in their competitions, play games against their own teams and have one or two ODIs in a year.”

Aaqib said his players are yet to get used to the pressure of playing in front of big audiences at grounds and on television.

“Once we play Pakistan in Pakistan there will be a crowd,” he said, ahead of the UAE’s penultimate pool match at the World Cup, against South Africa ­tomorrow.

“There will be people watching. There is a skill and technique difference, and there is a difference when you are playing for the first time in front of big crowds, media and TV.”

Waqar Younis, the Pakistan coach and former national teammate of Aaqib, said last week that cricket there is suffering while international teams are staying away.

“At the moment I am only thinking about the World Cup, but we definitely need teams to come to Pakistan,” Waqar said after Pakistan beat the UAE in Napier last week.

“That is what we need. If ICC or world cricket can help us out to restart cricket in Pakistan, that will help.

“It is a huge loss for Pakistan that cricket is not being played there. Of course we can see the symptoms.”

pradley@thenational.ae

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