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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

UAE hope Indoor Cricket World Cup in Dubai serves as launchpad to greater things

Vice-captain Vikrant Shetty looks forward to his team playing in more world cups around the globe after fifth-place finish.

UAE came very close to making the semi-finals of the Indoor Cricket World Cup in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
UAE came very close to making the semi-finals of the Indoor Cricket World Cup in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The UAE national team want to become regular fixtures at Indoor Cricket World Cups in the future, having impressed on debut in Dubai.

The pioneering national team finished fifth in pool play in the nine-team event at Insportz, Dubai.

They beat England, and took bonus-point “skins” off eventual finalists Australia and New Zealand when they met in the group phase.

Vikrant Shetty, the UAE vice-captain, says they do not want this event to be their last on the global stage.

“This time we got in by default, because we are host nation, but we made people notice is,” Shetty said.

“For us playing a first World Cup, we did make heads turn. We made an impression, which is a good thing.

“I hope in the next World Cup, and the ones that follow, the [Emirates Cricket Board], Insportz club, Cricket Australia, they think about us and invite and we play each and every World Cup. From here it can just get better and better and better.”

Vikrant Shetty reckons his UAE side have made a positive impression. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Vikrant Shetty reckons his UAE side have made a positive impression. Chris Whiteoak / The National

After the thrilling opening matches against Australia, New Zealand, and England, the UAE’s tournament petered out.

They failed to make the plate final after losses to India and England in the knockout phase. Shetty says they will learn from the experience.

“It has been ups and downs,” he said. “The tournament was hectic, people were injured, we didn’t have our best playing eight the whole time, and it made a big difference.

“Fitness is very important, and playing under pressure is very important.”

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The UAE also earned praise as a host. This was the first time a World Cup had been staged in this region, and there was plenty of support for most of the sides represented.

“Before this tournament, in Birmingham last year, we generated a lot of home support, with a couple of hundred people for the England games,” said Anish Patel, the England captain.

“The support here has been fantastic, because it has been for all the teams. There have been UAE fans, but also England fans, Indian fans, Sri Lankans.

“I know it is in Asia, but generating that sort of support is great for the game, and it makes playing in the games more fun.”