Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 8 August 2020

UAE prepare for return to ODI cricket after T20 World Cup qualifier disappointment

Fixtures for the new Cricket World Cup League Two announced with tri-series in Sharjah and Dubai scheduled for next month

UAE will host Scotland in a tri-series next month. Whiteoak / The National
UAE will host Scotland in a tri-series next month. Whiteoak / The National

UAE will try to move on from their disappointment at failing to qualify for the T20 World Cup when they return to the one-day international (ODI) format next month.

The national team’s fixtures for their first series in the new Cricket World Cup League Two have been confirmed by the ICC.

They will play a tri-series against Scotland and United States in Sharjah and Dubai. It is part of a new competition structure forming part of the process for the 2023 World Cup in India.

The top three teams in the league – which includes 21 separate tri-series, such as the one in UAE next month – will play at the World Cup qualifier in 2022.

The bottom four teams will drop into a 'repechage' event, giving them a second shot at making it to the global qualifier.

They will be joined by the winners of the two challenge leagues that are the next tiers of the qualifying process. The top two teams from the play-off will make it to the qualifier.

Coincidentally, UAE’s first engagement in the competition pits them against the side who finally extinguished their hopes of qualification for the T20 version of the World Cup.

Scotland thrashed them by 90 runs last week in the last chance eliminator match at the qualifier in Dubai last week, meaning they – rather than UAE – will be playing in Australia next year.

The series is a vital one for the national team, as they attempt to rebuild after the corruption controversy of the past month.

The side will be much altered from the last time they played an ODI, in Zimbabwe in April.

As many as six players from the squad that played in that 4-0 series defeat in Harare are likely to be unavailable, as the ICC continues its anti-corruption investigation.

Mohammed Naveed, Shaiman Anwar, and Qadeer Ahmed, are currently banned from the game after being charged by ICC for breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code.

Ashfaq Ahmed is suspended by the Emirates Cricket Board as part of the investigation.

The ECB have also suspended wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber for absconding from duty, after he went absent without leave during the T20 Qualifier, and have stated that he is also part of the probe.

Amir Hayat, the fast bowler, has also been absent since before the Qualifier, despite being a centrally-contracted player. He is also believed to be part of the investigation.

Scotland and United States have already started their League Two campaign. Each have six points after their four matches so far.

“We responded well after an early setback in round one, and will be looking to build on the three wins, when we travel to UAE in December,” Simon Smith, Scotland’s high performance manager, said.

“We have played a variety of opposition across all formats at the Sharjah Stadium. It holds some good memories for us. Scotland won the first ICC Intercontinental Cup there, and three of our current squad have made international centuries there.”

USA also have fond memories of playing in the emirates, having impressed in a practice series against UAE in Dubai earlier this year.

“Competitive and consistent cricket opportunities have always been a challenge for the USA and we are looking forward to capitalise on this latest opportunity to perform on the international stage,” Iain Higgins, USA Cricket’s chief executive, said.

“We are confident our unit can build on the recent success from our first ODI series in Florida, and we will be competing in the West Indies Super50 Tournament in preparation for the crucial matches in the UAE.”

Updated: November 7, 2019 02:57 PM



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