x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

UAE cricket needs to attract youth with jobs

Eligibility is an issue for a majority of promising players, so the only way to usher a new generation of talent is by lure foreign nationals to the emirates.

Kabir Khan's UAE cricket squad need reinforcements.
Kabir Khan's UAE cricket squad need reinforcements.

The UAE will be conspicuous in their absence when they host the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in March next year.

Instead, Nepal, Hong Kong and Oman join Afghanistan in the 16-team ICC event after they qualifying through the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) T20 Cup concluded earlier this month in Nepal.

The UAE were one of the fancied teams but lost out by an inferior run rate behind Nepal and Hong Kong, after losing just once.

The UAE may have been under-prepared. Complacency may also have been a problem. Either way, Kabir Khan's men paid a heavy price.

They also missed the services of Saqib Ali, one player who may have turned around their fortunes, but the Pakistan-born all-rounder had to be left out as he had not fully recovered from a knee injury.

The UAE team's problems are many. As amateurs, the players have to cope with their day jobs and find time for training, as well.

The administration also has to deal with the eligibility of players, which states that only two are eligible under the four-year resident rule to be in the playing 11. The rest have to be born in the UAE or residents for more than seven years.

Unfortunately, the boys who were born and raised in the country become ineligible to stay once they turn 18 years old. It has left the Emirates Cricket Board with an ageing squad.

They can't change the resident rules but they can nurture a few promising youngsters with employment options close to cricket. That is, if they have the ambitions to build a solid team for the future.


Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Amith Pasella on @AmithPassela