x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

David East likes direction cricket has taken in UAE

Emirates Cricket Board chairman preparing for the busiest season ever for cricket in the country, which includes U19 World Cup, he tells Amith Passela.

Now through January will be a busy period for David East and Emirates Cricket Board. Sammy Dallal / The National
Now through January will be a busy period for David East and Emirates Cricket Board. Sammy Dallal / The National

Cycling has been David East’s favourite past-time since he stopped playing competitive cricket.

The former Essex wicketkeeper had been talking about shipping in his bicycle from his home in England or even buying one from a local store.

That was during his second month in office after taking up his post on January 2 as the chief executive of both the Emirates Cricket Board and the Abu Dhabi Cricket Club (ADCC).

There has been no time for cycling, though. East has been busy all summer and is now preparing for the busiest season ever for cricket in the UAE.

East will be fully occupied with the upcoming series of Pakistan against South Africa starting on Monday followed by Sri Lanka’s visit in December-January.

He also will oversee the staging of the World Cup Twenty20 Qualifiers in November followed by the Under 19 Asia Cup in December-January and the U19 World Cup in February, all in the UAE.

“We are all looking forward to what promises to be a fantastic and hard fought series between two excellent teams,” East said.

“Pakistan is always an exciting team to watch, and I’m sure they’ll want to avenge a series loss to South Africa earlier this year.

“The UAE is familiar territory for them, and with what I’m sure will be some strong home support, they will push South Africa all the way.”

Following South Africa, Pakistan will host Sri Lanka in a series involving three Tests, five one-day internationals, and two Twenty20 matches. The capital will host two of the ODIs, on December 25 and 27, and the first Test from December 31 to January 4.

Abu Dhabi will host Group A of the World T20 Qualifiers from November 15 to 30, with eight of the 16 Associate nations based in the capital.

Zayed Cricket Stadium will also host the semi-finals and the final of the tournament, which sees six teams qualify for the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

However, East said he was particularly excited to be hosting the U19 World Cup.

“It provides us an opportunity to showcase the UAE in a global event which is going to be globally televised,” he said. “We need to absolutely ensure that is the absolute showcase for this country and I’ll be working very hard to ensure that we do that.”

As well as overseeing a busy international schedule, East also has to find time to look after domestic competitions, as well as make arrangements for English county teams for their pre-season camps in Abu Dhabi.

He watched the Abu Dhabi inter-school U19 tournament last week and attended the launch of ADCC’s opening club competition – the UAE Exchange Centre T20 Cup – on Monday night at the Shangri-La Hotel.

East is ready for the challenge.

“There’s a lot to do, there’s a lot for me to explore and to hopefully develop with people that are willing to support me and open minds to the way that we can move forward,” he said.

“I think there’s an enormous amount that the whole game can achieve here.

“It’s such a fantastic location globally, in terms of the way that cricket is set up.

“We should really be maximising the opportunity of our global position and the fabulous weather we have so much of the year. At the moment, everything I’m dealing with is challenging.

“I think the commercialisation of the game will be a real challenge.”

apassela@thenational.ae