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East eyes up ODI status for UAE

Incoming cricket board boss aims to develop the sport at all levels

Image Credit: Courtesy: Essex Cricket
David East
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: David East, the former Essex county star and currently the county’s Chief Executive, is looking forward to a new challenge as the boss of the Emirates Cricket Board and the Abu Dhabi Cricket Club, roles which he will assume in January 2013.

The 53-year-old former wicketkeeper-batsman, in his first interview since being named to take over from current ECB CEO Dilawar Mani, said among his main objectives will be to ensure the UAE is accorded full One Day International status and to take the game to UAE nationals.

Having recorded success both on the commercial as well as the cricketing side for Essex, East told Gulf News in an exclusive interview from London that his new role was an ‘exciting position’ and one he was looking forward to taking up.

East will be here in the UAE next week on a ‘recce run’ to check out schools for his 14-year-old daughter and introduce his family to the UAE.

Following are excerpts from the interview East gave to Gulf News:


Gulf News: How did you get the job as ECB chief executive?

David East: I was approached by the ECB Board and met with them in London. Then I visited Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah to meet the rest of the board members. And then I was offered the position.


GN: How are you looking forward to the new assignment in the region?

DE: Very much looking forward to it. It is a very exciting position and I’m very much looking forward to coming over in January. The opportunity for the Emirates is significant and most wonderful is the geographical location, with the ICC based there and also with respect to cricket in the Middle East.


GN: What will be your initial aims or goals for cricket in the UAE?

DE: Firstly I think there is an enormous opportunity for the UAE to press forward to becoming a One Day International side in the foreseeable future. That is what I am aiming for.


GN: Any other plans perhaps to promote the game with Emiratis?

DE: That is very much our focus. There is obviously some very good work being done as I understand it and it is very clear that in all this, for the UAE team to go forward, we have to get more and more Emiratis playing cricket. The expats are clearly driving cricket in the UAE at the moment, which is fine. But if we can get more Emiratis playing and actually start trying to create interest in cricket in the schools as well then that is very good for the future, because it then becomes part of their culture. At the moment that is coming from the expatriates. That will be a major focus, working with the Emiratis. We can increase the participation in cricket throughout the emirates and more so with the Emiratis.


GN: What about the additional position of Chief Executive of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Club?

DE: It is all very new to me. I am going to Abu Dhabi to meet up with the club officials and see what is required. That is a whole role there. That is what I have been doing at Essex for the last 14 years. We have been developing the business here at Essex and once I understand how the business works and where the opportunities might be and the partners I will be working with, that is what I will be looking forward to doing.


GN: Where do you think you will be based?

DE: We are coming over next week and will spend three days in Dubai and three days in Abu Dhabi. My wife and daughter will be in the UAE for the first time and we will be checking out the place and the schools. We will decide after that. Right now we are excited and looking forward to the UAE.