UAE set to compete in two cricket world cups at same time in Australia

Teams representing Emirates to play in both men's T20 finals and indoor showpiece

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 07, 2017: Feature on Vikrant Shetty. The UAE will be hosting and playing in the Indoor Cricket World Cup in Dubai next month on Monday, Aug. 07, 2017, Insportz, Al Quoz, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak The National
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The UAE will be playing in two separate cricket world cups in the same month in the same state in Australia.

The men’s national team are getting ready to appear at a second T20 World Cup in Victoria.

Their first-round matches start in Geelong on October 16 with a fixture against the Netherlands, before they face Sri Lanka and Namibia.

If there is a gap in their practice schedule in the lead up to that, a number of their players are looking into the possibility of going along to watch the Indoor Cricket World Cup in Melbourne.

The UAE will also be represented in that event – and the side might well be harbouring even loftier ambitions in that than their outdoor colleagues.

Dubai hosted the Indoor Cricket World Cup the last time it was played, back in 2017.

Although Australia maintained their domination of the format by taking that title in Al Quoz – they have won all 10 editions of the Indoor Cricket World Cup – the UAE impressed during the tournament.

According to Vikrant Shetty, who has represented the country in both T20 and indoor World Cups in the past, they are confident of making an impression this time around, too.

“The indoor World Cup happens every three years, but because of Covid, this has been delayed by two years,” Shetty said.

“The team has changed a fair bit since we played in Dubai five years ago.

“Australia are the No 1 side, having won all the World Cups up until now. But hopefully the gap is closing up now.

“From our side, we feel better than we did in 2017. We have practised better, we have a coach who has come in from Sri Lanka, having played five World Cups himself.

“We feel more confident than we did last time, when we ranked No 5 out of nine nations. Hopefully, we can do better than last time.”

Shetty thinks the UAE are right to feel optimistic about their chances, given the quantity and standard of indoor matches played at facilities like Insportz and United Pro Sports in Dubai.

He also points to the boost the game will get from the construction of Danube Sports World, a new multi-sport indoor centre in Dubai.

“According to the World Indoor Cricket Federation, the UAE plays the most amount of [indoor] cricket worldwide,” said Shetty, who is part of a side who have recently taken wins off Sri Lanka, England and South Africa.

“We have a high density of indoor centres, and there are so many tournaments happening on a regular basis that there is a real growth in competitiveness.

“There is so much cricket played that sometimes even we, as a national team, have struggled to get court time.”

Shetty and Ahmed Raza, who were teammates when the UAE played at the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, travelled to the 2015 50-over World Cup in Australia to support the national team.

Now Raza is part of the side vying to progress in the T20 World Cup, while Shetty is a mainstay of the indoor team.

Raza will probably make the trip from to Geelong to Casey Stadium, the venue for the indoor event, if time permits, in order to support his mate.

The indoor team, for their part, are aiming to stay on in Melbourne and repay the gesture at the T20 matches at Kardinia Park in Geelong.

“It’s no coincidence that it’s happened like this, because the Australian board has organised everything,” Shetty said.

“They scheduled it so the tournament happens before the [T20 World Cup preliminary round matches] start on October 16.

"Our tournament finishes the night before, and our guys plan to stay back and watch the outdoor.”

The UAE will begin their Indoor Cricket World Cup campaign when they play Sri Lanka on Saturday October 8.

UAE fixtures

Sunday, October 16 – UAE v Netherlands (Geelong)

Tuesday, October 18 – UAE v Sri Lanka (Geelong)

Thursday, October 20 – UAE v Namibia (Geelong)

Updated: October 06, 2022, 11:12 AM