Swapnil Patil, right, wicketkeeper of the UAE, in action during their match against Hong Kong at ICC Academy Oval at Dubai Sports City in Dubai on Wednesday. Pawan Singh / The National
Swapnil Patil, right, wicketkeeper of the UAE, in action during their match against Hong Kong at ICC Academy Oval at Dubai Sports City in Dubai on Wednesday. Pawan Singh / The National

Aaqib Javed admits ‘tough task’ ahead as UAE cricket slumps after unprecedented success

DUBAI // When Aaqib Javed, the UAE cricket coach, recently said the national team will be rebuilding over the next 18 months, he was endeavouring to downplay expectations.

Recent years have seen unprecedented success, with qualification for both the World Cup and the World Twenty20 among the finest achievements in the history of the sport here.

Perpetuating that was always going to be difficult. However, even allowing for a substantial overhaul of the side since then, the fall has been alarmingly stark.

Read more UAE cricket news:

From the summit of playing at the World Cup nine months ago, UAE cricket is now stuck firmly in the doldrums, as evidence by a third thrashing at the hands of Hong Kong in the space of five days on Wednesday.

The 136-run defeat at the ICC Academy in Dubai meant a series whitewash in the World Cricket League, having been trounced in the four-day, Intercontinental Cup game at the weekend.

In four innings against a youthful Hong Kong side, the home batsmen have managed meagre totals of 181, 105, 209 and 146. If this is what the new era looks like, there could be lean times ahead.

“It is rebuilding, and what we have seen the past two weeks is really disappointing,” Aaqib said. “From now onwards, I think it is going to be a tough task.”

The horror show against Hong Kong puts the exclamation mark on a woeful 2015 for UAE cricket. Fifteen out of 17 matches in cricket of note have been lost.

Greats of the game here such as Khurram Khan, Mohammed Tauqir and Saqib Ali, have departed, leaving a gaping hole.

Aaqib pointed out that the forthcoming changes to elite cricket, which will include having paid players and selectors, cannot come soon enough.

“All other teams are professional, and their teams have improved a lot,” he said. “We are still relying on part timers, and holding a camp for two weeks before the competition. That is not enough. If somebody wants to compete with professionals, they have to act like them. We have got potential, now we need a proper thought process.”

In contrast to the UAE’s gloom, Hong Kong can look forward to a bright future, led by their highly talented captain Tanwir Afzal.

From No 8 in the order, Afzal hit 73 from 33 balls to take the game beyond the hosts, then took three wickets to seal the win.

“I’m proud of the boys, with how consistent they have been in the past few days,” Afzal said. “They have done a fantastic job.

“The guys have stood up and chipped in in every game, we have been consistent, so I am happy.”


Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

Generation Start-up: Awok company profile

Started: 2013

Founder: Ulugbek Yuldashev

Sector: e-commerce

Size: 600 plus

Stage: still in talks with VCs

Principal Investors: self-financed by founder

Director: Paul Weitz
Stars: Kevin Hart
3/5 stars


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded


Name: Rain Management

Year started: 2017

Based: Bahrain

Employees: 100-120

Amount raised: $2.5m from BitMex Ventures and Blockwater. Another $6m raised from MEVP, Coinbase, Vision Ventures, CMT, Jimco and DIFC Fintech Fund

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

New Zealand squad

Tim Southee (capt), Trent Boult (games 4 and 5), Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (games 1-3), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).


Aaron Finch, Matt Renshaw, Brendan Doggett, Michael Neser, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain), Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★


Deportivo La Coruna 2 Barcelona 4
Perez (39'), Colak (63')
Barcelona: Coutinho (6'), Messi (37', 81', 84')

Dark Souls: Remastered
Developer: From Software (remaster by QLOC)
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Price: Dh199


What: 11th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship

When: December 27-29, 2018

Confirmed: men: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem, Hyeon Chung, Karen Khachanov; women: Venus Williams

Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ae, Virgin megastores or call 800 86 823


Uefa Champions League semi-finals, first leg
Liverpool v Roma

When: April 24, 10.45pm kick-off (UAE)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Live: BeIN Sports HD
Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl, 48V hybrid

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 325bhp

Torque: 450Nm

Price: Dh289,000


Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy