x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UAE cricket chief David East targets Test status in long term

The new head of the Emirates Cricket Board wants to see the national side emerge as a Test and ODI nation, writes Amith Passela.

David East has hopes the UAE can continue to stage matches for Pakistan if security remains an issue in the subcontinent. Sammy Dallal / The National
David East has hopes the UAE can continue to stage matches for Pakistan if security remains an issue in the subcontinent. Sammy Dallal / The National

Only a month into his job as the chief executive of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and Abu Dhabi Cricket Club (ADCC) and David East has lofty ambitions to take the UAE to the next level in the sport as well as developing the game further in the country.

The Englishman's main objective is to have the UAE playing Test cricket in the future, but that is just part of his plans.

"I would love to see the UAE being a Test playing nation in terms of a really long-distance vision but I'd also like to see in a shorter-term vision, being a regular one-day international team," he said.

"And to have a number of Emiratis playing in it, as well as obviously other qualified expats that have come into the country. So that is my sort of medium-term vision."

But the 53 year old is aware that these ideas will need much planning and he is still in the early days in his new role.

"I am learning more every day," he said. "But I'm starting to get my thinking straight, because I've had two roles here: I've got the ADCC duty executive's role which is effectively ensuring the Zayed Cricket Stadium here is viable and vibrant, but also the ECB role as well.

"I'm trying to split my time between the two, understand the differences and similarities between the organisations and the different venues, the way we work together.

"I have no complaints at all; everyone has been extremely supportive and remains so."

It is not just the UAE team that will be a focal point for East as he anticipates the UAE will again host Pakistan in their home Test series with South Africa and Sri Lanka this year.

"Well, we're very hopeful that we're going to be staging these series, provided nothing changes as far as the security situation in Pakistan," he said. "The South Africa and Sri Lanka series is from November to January effectively.

"We are going to be staging the T20 qualifiers for the Bangladesh World Cup in 2013 which are going to be for the Associate nations and that's going to be happening in October and November.

"And we're very hopeful that we're going to be in the Under 19 World Cup in March in 2014 as well, so there's a lot of international cricket coming up throughout the UAE."

The other aim for East is to increase participation from the expatriate communities.

He said: "The cricket that's played here is primarily by participants from the subcontinent and it's recreational and I'd like to broaden that interest to the British, South African and the Australian communities, as well as to see if we can engage with more expat communities."

apassela@thenational.ae

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