Migrants and their children have been almost exclusively representing the Arab countries in international cricket. For the simple reason that Arabs hadn’t and haven’t been exposed to it. That is changing. Oman have a policy dedicated to involving those of Arab origin in competitive cricket, Kuwait have had a couple of notable Arab players, UAE have increasingly active Arabian cricketers and now Qatar are recruiting potential new players from the local schools.

Analysis points to the increasing marginalization/ghettoization of cricket if it is confined only to a single community, an increasing disconnect between state and current cricketing community. Migrants and their children may be playing cricket in the Gulf now, who is to say that the grandchildren of migrants will be choosing to reside in the Gulf or even playing cricket? Fresh talent from fertile ground is required. Nowhere better than the schools serving the Arabian nationals.

As with China, developing cricket in Arabia is a test of cricket’s appeal and of cricket coaches’ ability to teach. Coaches which, in the main, have been created by the Asian Cricket Council.

The Qatar Cricket Association (QCA) have gone to the first of 102 Independent Schools in Qatar, the Al-Razi Preparatory Independent School for Boys in Duhail, a suburb of Doha. National coach Tahir Mahmood took 30 under-16 boys through the basics of cricket. 19 of them were then selected for further 90 minutes a week coaching sessions at the school.

Tahir Mahmood and the ABCs of cricket for Arab boys

QCA General Secretary Manzoor Ahmad reports that “the nineteen boys expressed their pride at being selected, saying it was an honour for them and their school.” Mr. Ahmad added that the Qatar Olympic Committee Secretary General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani has expressed his desire to see the game of cricket promoted among Qataris and Arabs. The QCA will be visiting other schools.

Qatar Cricket Profile

Filed November 22nd, 2011