x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Kardooni had briefest of careers with Gulf

With the likes of Richard Hill and Dewi Morris blocking his path, he never made the step up to full England honours, but he still earned a belated - and unlikely - call-up to the international game.

DUBAI // Among the number of ex-Arabian Gulf internationals watching the final throes of the regional side's existence this weekend is the man who played more first-class matches than any other from the Gulf. He almost certainly had the briefest international career out of anyone to play for the Gulf, too.

The Tehran-born Aadel Kardooni played more than 300 top-flight games for Leicester as a scrum-half between 1988 and 1998, and earned two caps for England's A team in the process.

With the likes of Richard Hill and Dewi Morris blocking his path, he never made the step up to full England honours, but he still earned a belated - and unlikely - call-up to the international game.

"I got a call asking if I would come and help the Arabian Gulf qualify for the 1997 World Cup Sevens," said Kardooni, who has a watching brief at The Sevens this weekend as part of the Christina Noble tour party.

"It came out of the blue. They knew I played for Leicester and, with an Arabic-sounding name like Aadel, they just gave me a call to see if I wanted to represent them.

"Because I had only played for England A and didn't have a full cap, I was eligible to play, so I thought I would come out and see if I could help.

"Technically, I was able to play for the Gulf because I was born in Iran. I pulled my hamstring in the first minute of the first game and couldn't play on."

Today's matches are the last that will be played by the Arabian Gulf as a collective side before the union disbands to make way for separate national federations. A new UAE side will take the Gulf's place in international competition from next year.

pradley@thenational.ae