UAE face Ireland in first ODI in Abu Dhabi today - GulfToday

UAE face Ireland in first ODI in Abu Dhabi today


UAE pacer Zahoor Khan during a training session.

Mohammad Abdullah, Sports Reporter

A new-look UAE cricket team are set to turn a new leaf when they take on Ireland in the first of the four-match ODI series in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

The UAE will play their first competitive game in a year since the coronavirus brought all the sporting activities to a halt. It will be a welcome boost for the Associate Nation, who have played two World Cups in 1996 and 2015.

Ahmed Raza will lead the UAE team with a lot of new faces getting the first opportunity to represent the nation. Ireland will also an ODI series with Afghanistan later in the month.

Raza expressed his gratitude for the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for organising the series that will give them some much-needed exposure at the international level.

“All credit goes to the ECB and Ireland cricket board who combined to organise the series. I want to thank Ireland for coming down and exuding their trust in our safety protocols during the pandemic,” said Raza during a virtual presser on Wednesday. Ireland’s Andrew Balbirnie also thanked both the board for making this series happen.

“Thank you to everyone, who are involved for getting us out here. We are excited to come down and play in the UAE in such strange times. It is always a fun to play in the UAE,” said Balbirnie.

In a ground breaking move both the boards agreed to organize an ODI series to give their players a bit of exposure and practice ahead of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers.

The UAE coach Robin Singh has already made his intentions clears of taking the team to the 2023 World Cup. He is busy charting out map to India, where the showpiece event will be held.

With an eye on the World Cup, the former Indian all-rounder has already started ringing in the changes to build strong squad.

“I am confident we will qualify for the 2023 World Cup. We have the potential to make it for the showpiece event.

“Still there is a lot of time and we have started working in that direction. Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is trying to put a system in place to make a strong squad for the future,” asserted Robin, who is the head coach of the UAE national cricket team and also renders his services as the director of cricket operations in the board.

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