With their most important tournament of the year coming up, the ICC World Cup Qualifier in South Africa, the UAE will be taking on six top English counties and a select Fly Emirates XI. The four-time ACC Trophy champions will play the counties directly after a tour of Sri Lanka at the start of March, where they will also find other World Cup hopefuls Oman.

Emirates Cricket Board Administrator Mazhar Khan says, “The UAE team will play a minimum of three games against the county sides before they depart to South Africa on March 27th.”

The Pro ARCH Trophy in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah also took place last year and was a valuable exercise for all concerned. UAE’s star batsman Arshad Ali will be playing for the Fly Emirates XI and says that the practice games will help prepare the UAE cricketers physically and mentally for the critical games in South Africa. “We really enjoy playing these teams because they play at a very high level and at the same time we gain a lot of exposure. We are confident of performing well this time around”, he added.

Photo: Peter Lim
Arshad Ali: 2008 ACC Trophy Elite Player of the Tournament

In 2008 UAE came close to beating Essex, falling just ten runs short chasing 267. Essex had Ravi Bopara in their team and Andrew Flintoff and Matt Prior featured for Lancashire and Sussex.

ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura said, “It is always beneficial when you play against a stronger opponent as it will raise playing standards. Playing against both the counties as well as the Sri Lankan sides will certainly help UAE’s preparations for the World Cup Qualifier”.

Related Articles:
High-Performance Program For High-Flyers
Oman and UAE go direct to 2009 ICC World Cup Qualifier
UAE Country Profile

Filed February 27, 2009