Adnan Mufti said he “looked at every possibility” of continuing his international career, before resigning from his UAE contract and moving to the UK instead.
The left-handed batsman has been a mainstay of the national team for the past two years. He signed a two-year central contract with the Emirates Cricket Board in October.
However, family commitments have led him to retire from playing for the national team, and relocate to the west of England instead.
“To play international cricket is a dream of every cricketer,” said Mufti, who turns 34 later this month.
“When I got the chance to play back in 2016, it was a big honour for me. This was a very big decision for me and my family to move away from UAE cricket.
“We have tried every option to stay in touch with UAE cricket, but I’m afraid it’s not possible. I am missing UAE cricket every day.”
Mufti hopes to continue playing as a club professional, and work as a coach, in the UK, but he acknowledges he has unfinished business with his former team.
“Now the UAE team is one of the best Associate teams in the world,” Mufti said.
“We have been growing every day. When Dougie [Brown, the coach] joined we started a journey to become the best Associate team by the end of 2019.
"It meant a great deal for me to join the team. There are so many things I wanted to do. I wanted to get an ODI hundred at some stage. I wanted to establish myself as the best No 7 finisher in Associate cricket.
“I have already done that to some extent, but I wanted to do more performances in this position for UAE. Unfortunately, I have to move on.”
The side he left behind had a frustrating end to 2018, after exiting the Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Pakistan on Sunday.
A brief rain shower left the pitch unplayable in their final pool match against Hong Kong. A win would likely have earned them a trip to Sri Lanka for the knockout stage.
In the immediate aftermath, several UAE players took to social media to criticise the organisers and the facilities at the ground in Karachi.
However, each deleted their posts, and Rohan Mustafa, the captain, said sorry on behalf of the upset players.
"As captain of @EmiratesCricket I would like to apologise to everyone in Pakistan for our frustrated tweets after yesterday's match," Mustafa wrote.
“[The Pakistan Cricket Board and Asian Cricket Council] have gone above and beyond to make our visit to Pakistan a very special one.”