UAE and Pakistan cricket ties run deep as World Cup clash beckons

Pakistan and UAE will meet at the eastern most cricket ground in the World Cup on Wednesday.

UAE all-rounder Amjad Javed, centre, insists his team are not afraid of Pakistan ahead of their Cricket World Cup encounter. William West / AFP
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Pakistan and UAE will meet at the eastern most cricket ground in the World Cup on Wednesday.

It seems bizarre that two sides who are so intrinsically linked have to go the end of the Earth to play a competitive fixture against each other.

Both call Sharjah Cricket Stadium home. So deep are the ties, it is probably fair to say one could not exist without the other.

Nine of the 15-man UAE squad at the World Cup are Pakistani nationals. The head coach, Aaqib Javed, and the batting coach, Mudassar Nazar, are ex-Pakistan internationals of great repute.


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Pakistan, for their part, have been able to live in exile in the UAE, where they have been granted mate’s rates on the country’s high-class cricket facilities for years.

Their national team has only has been able to survive - and often thrive - as an international entity because of it.

Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s captain, acknowledged as much in the eve of match press conference.

“It is really important for us because whatever we did in the last four years, I think UAE played a wider role in Pakistan’s cricket,” Misbah said.

“We just achieved so many things there, the whitewash over England and whitewash over Australia in Test matches there.

“We won against Sri Lanka, also. We played most of our cricket in UAE, so you could say that’s home for us.

“Whatever we are achieving, whatever we did in the last four years, that’s due to UAE.”

Misbah says his side know their opposition well, too, and have plans for them as a result.

Not that the UAE are strangers to their celebrated tenants, though.

The national team played a two-day tour match against the full Pakistan Test side ahead of their series against South Africa.

A Pakistan A side, which included a number of players in the World Cup squad, also beat the UAE 3-2 in a warm up series for this event at the end of 2014.

Furthermore, Pakistani players - such as Nasir Jamshed and Umar Akmal from the World Cup squad - have often been hired by company sides to play domestic A division cricket in the UAE.

Amjad Javed, the bowler who has been one of the stand out players for the UAE so far in this competition, remembers hitting Mohammed Irfan, the towering quick bowler, for sixes at Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi around seven years ago.

He says the opposition hold no mysteries for his batting colleagues.

“They are not scared,” Javed said. “They are well prepared, and still they are preparing.

“Our batting coach Mudassar is working very hard on them, so Inshallah, we’ll do well.

“We are representing as the UAE, so it doesn’t matter if you are Pakistani playing against Pakistan.

“We will play as UAE, so we will give 100 per cent against them.”