The United Arab Emirates is an associate member of the ICC, and one that has been granted ODI status. The United Arab Emirates were first granted associate status in 1989, and they have competed in several major competitions since then. The UAE is one of the emerging teams, one that is improving year on year, and one that seems to have a big future ahead of them. This is helped by the region’s wealth and its commitment to investing in sport, and also by the significant population of Indian and Pakistani expats, who help to increase the quality of cricket in the United Arab Emirates.
In the final years of the 19th century, cricket was introduced to the United Arab Emirates by the British Army, and the game spread from that point on. The British continued to have a major impact on the game’s popularity in the region, and during the Second World War, when British and Commonwealth forces were stationed in the region, they even built several pitches.
The first match played by the United Arab Emirates was in 1976, at which point cricket had already gained a significant following in the region. The game was against a team sponsored by Pakistan International Airlines, a first-class side who gave the United Arab Emirates a good run for their money before the game was abandoned due to rain.
In the years that followed, and as the United Arab Emirates became richer and richer, locals began to invest in the sport and its popularity grew. Grounds were built, the Emirates Cricket Board was formed, and in 1989 the United Arab Emirates became an associate member of the ICC. In their first year as a recognized ICC international team, the United Arab Emirates suffered several heavy defeats and it was clear that a lot of work needed to be done and a lot more investments needed to be made. But that’s exactly what happened and during the 1990s and beyond, the United Arab Emirates became a force to be reckoned with in Asian cricket.
Khurram Khan and Shairman Anwar are just two of the players who have had a major impact on United Arab Emirates cricket, and two players who boosted their run totals during their One-Day Internationals. One of the areas in which the United Arab Emirates have always struggled is in the management of the team, with few coaches making it beyond a season. However, Pakistani coach Aaquib Javed, who had an illustrious career as a player, has remained with them since 2012 and has guided them through several tournaments.
The United Arab Emirates has not impressed in the World Cup, but it has made it to two tournaments, during 1996 and 2015, and this in itself is an achievement for a team ranked outside of the world top ten. They have put in several strong performances in the ICC World Cup Qualifier, including a victory in 1994, and a runner-up spot behind Scotland in 2014. In the Intercontinental Cup the United Arab Emirates claimed two semi-final spots in 2004 and 2005 respectively and they were declared the Division Two champions of the World Cricket League both in 2007 and then again in 2011.
The United Arab Emirates have not had the best form in the Asia Cup competition and have never made it beyond the first round as of 2016, but they have claimed victories in other fringe tournaments, including the ACC Fast Track Counties Tournament and the ACC Trophy.
As for their One-Day International form, the United Arab Emirates have yet to record a victory against any of the top 10 teams, but they have claimed success against Afghanistan, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Arguably their best performance during these internationals was against Afghanistan in February of 2016, when they recorded their highest total score.
Although it is rarely considered one of the world’s best, the United Arab Emirates plays a major role in the development and regulation of international cricket, because this is where the International Cricket Council is based. The ICC set up shop in Dubai, and it is from this location where most of cricket’s major decisions are made. It wasn’t always based here, of course, and the ICC’s home (and arguably the home of cricket) was at the Lord’s Cricket Ground for many years. The decision to move to Dubai was made to bring the International cricketing community together, and to protect its earnings from tax.