Emirates Cricket Board
CRICKET IN UAE
The UAE is the traditional cricketing powerhouse of the Gulf Region. The men’s national team is a perennial challenger at the summit of Associate cricket. Off the field, the Emirates is the ICC’s administrative center, and the go-to ‘neutral’ host for franchise, international, and global qualifying tournaments. Between the 1820s and the 1971, the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Dubai, Umm Al Quwain, and Fujairah constituted the ‘Trucial States’ under British protection. British and other Commonwealth army, air force, and navy personnel introduced cricket to these parts in the 1892, playing regularly on bases. The game briefly stagnated after independence in 1971 but experienced a rejuvenation with the arrival of professional and white collar South Asian migrants in the late 70s and 80s. The Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, established in 1982 courtesy of a joint initiative between rich locals and migrants, made its international debut in 1984 (the Asia Cup between India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka), and the UAE has been associated with international cricket ever since. The men’s national team made its competition debut at the ICC Trophy 1994, shocking the cricketing world by winning the tournament and qualifying for a maiden World Cup in 1996. The team has been a mainstay of the upper echelons of Associate cricket since then, winning multiple ACC Trophies, two World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 tournaments, and qualifying for a second world cup in 2015. Approximately 88% of the UAE’s population is made up of expatriates, most of whom are not eligible for Emirati citizenship. This demographic reality is inevitably reflected in the participation, and competitiveness of domestic cricket in the Emirates, and the make-up of the national team. This model has been replicated in the women’s game, and Emirates is increasingly challenging Nepal, China, and Thailand as a force in the Asian Associate women’s game. Bolstered by a world class facility, a strong administration, and professional contracts, the UAE will be a strong competitor in the Associate world. Whether they can take the next step is an open question.
First men’s international match: vs Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), February 1976 Major international victories: vs Kenya, Nairobi, 1994 (ICC Trophy 1994 Final) vs Netherlands, Lahore, 1996 (ICC World Cup 1996) vs Hong Kong, Sharjah, 2000 (ACC Trophy Final) vs Namibia, Dubai, 2011 (World Cricket League 2 Final) vs Zimbabwe, Harare, 2018 (First win against ICC Full member) Leading men’s international players: Khurram Khan (2001 – 2014), Ahmed Raza (2006 – current), Rohan Mustafa (2011 – current) League formats: 50 Over, T20, T10 (corporate, regional councils, and franchise) World Cricket League history: Division 2 2007 (1); World Cup Qualifier 2009 (7); Division 2 2011 (1); World Cricket League Championship 2011 – 2013 (3); Division 2 2018 (1) World Cup appearances: 2 (1996, 2015), plus 2 U19s (2014, 2020)
First women’s international match: vs Bangladesh, Johor Bahru, July 2007 Major international victories: vs Netherlands, Utrecht, July 2018 vs China, Bangkok, January 2019 Leading women’s international players: Nisha Ali (2018 – 2020); Udeni Dona (2018 – current); Chamani Seneviratne (2018 – 2020) League formats: 50 Over, T20, T10 (corporate, regional councils, and franchise) World Cup appearances: 0
Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah Sheikh Zayed International Stadium, Abu Dhabi Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai ICC Academy Grounds 1 & 2, Dubai