UAE getting their players ready for what is expected to be a busy run-up to the 2023 World Cup
Emirates Cricket Board offers two-year central contracts to 13 UAE players
The Emirates Cricket Board has awarded central contracts to 13 players, it said on Thursday.
The players, including captain Rohan Mustafa, have been offered two-year contracts that expire in the middle of 2020.
This will come as good news to the team only days after the International Cricket Council, the game's world governing body, announced the introduction of a one-day international structure that will ensure the UAE will play at least 36 ODIs from the middle of 2019 to the end of 2021 in their bid to qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
Chief selector and ECB board member Waleed Bukhatir called it "a very exciting, crucial time for Emirates cricket".
"We are extremely pleased to deliver on our goal, and promise, to extend more players contracts, to make these contracts more lucrative [to the players], and to bring into the team a group of players that now have the opportunity to embed themselves into the game," Bukhatir said on Thursday.
"This will assist in our mandate to build, and strengthen UAE cricket, not only for the next four-year ODI cycle, but for many years to follow."
Bukhatir added that the ECB will keep a close watch on the performance of all the contracted players.
"It is imperative we continue to assess each player's performance and their continued role in the team," he said. "Therefore, we have implemented clear and concise programmes that will monitor and manage performance as well as pay due attention to how our players are incentivised."
Bukhatir said incentives will include financial reward, performance recognition, and personal and professional development.
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Cricket fans in the UAE are experiencing their busiest season, which kicked off with the Asia Cup – an ODI tournament won by India. This was shortly followed by two franchise-based T20 competitions – the Abu Dhabi T20 and Afghanistan Premier League.
Meanwhile, Pakistan beat Australia in a two-match Test series held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. And just before the first of three Twenty20 Internationals got under way in the capital on Wednesday night, the UAE played a one-off T20 international against the Australians on Monday.
New Zealand are expected to arrive in the Emirates next month to play a series of three T20s and as many ODIs and Tests against Pakistan.
A significant part of the annual Pakistan Super League is scheduled to be held here, too.