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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Dougie Brown positive despite UAE's convoluted route to qualify for 2019 Cricket World Cup

Because of a woeful start to the World Cricket League Championship (WCL), the national team have been consigned to playing in the Division 2 repechage event in Namibia

Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, was disappointed with his side's batting display in their loss to Nepal. Satish Kumar / The National
Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, was disappointed with his side's batting display in their loss to Nepal. Satish Kumar / The National

Dougie Brown, the coach, says the UAE are still optimistic about their 2019 World Cup prospects, despite the convoluted route they face to qualify.

Because of a woeful start to the World Cricket League Championship (WCL), the national team have been consigned to playing in the Division 2 repechage event in Namibia in February.

If they finish in the top two of that competition, they will reach the World Cup qualifier – which includes West Indies – in Zimbabwe the following month.

The national team have been on a stirring run in all formats of the game this year.

Win their next match in the Intercontinental Cup, against Afghanistan next month, for example, and they could finish third in that four-day competition, having been bottom at the start of this year.

Their form in the WCL has also picked up, but their chances of making it directly to the World Cup qualifier were scuppered by their poor start to the eight-team league.

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The top four WCL teams qualify straight for Zimbabwe, where the hosts lie in wait, as well as West Indies, Afghanistan and Ireland.

If they are successful in Namibia, the prospect of two tournaments in quick succession, could work in their favour, though, according to Brown.

“Obviously it has been disappointing not to qualify for Zimbabwe straight off the bat, but we always knew it would be in other people’s hands,” Brown said.

“We have played some pretty good cricket the past few months. We have to look it as a positive. A third of the teams in the [six-team Division 2] do qualify.

“We have been playing some pretty good cricket, we have just come back from there, and if we can come out of the group, the conditions are fairly similar to Namibia.

“It will mean playing a lot of cricket in a fairly short space of time. Is it impossible? No, it isn’t.

“Playing competitive cricket is not something you can replicate anywhere, no matter how hard you try. Match cricket against like-for-like opposition is going to be critical for us moving into a world tournament.”