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Ireland all-rounder Paul Stirling sighs autographs to budding players of the Zayed Cricket Academy in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Courtesy: ADC

Dubai: UAE cricket has been on a high over the last one year posting some impressive wins including against Ireland. Star all-rounder Paul Stirling was quick to notice that as he heaped praise on UAE saying the team has made some rapid progress in the recent past.

Stirling, who has won many a battles against UAE in the past and played a lot against the UAE recently, said that his team have been on the losing run against the UAE, who have got their basics right.

Drastic improvement

“They’ve have learnt the basics and seem to be doing it very well. They’re not making the same mistakes that you would assume they would make up at a particular time in the game. They have improved there and taken it further and not thrown their wickets to let us back in the game. Whenever they’ve got ahead, they’ve actually dominated. That’s a drastic improvement and they’ve got the infrastructure here to be as good as they want to be,” Stirling said.

Stirling and England captain Eoin Morgan, who conducted a weeklong masterclass to Zayed Cricket Academy pupils in Abu Dhabi, were effusive in praise for the facilities in the UAE.

“There are very few countries that can say that they have a level of infrastructure and facility like the UAE, who are developing infrastructure day by day. I’ve come here since 2007 and things have completely changed. The enthusiasm and the level of infrastructure cannot be matched by other teams around,” said Morgan, who has been overawed by the progress of the country’s facilities.

The UAE has been making rapid strides in international cricket since last year, when the Under-19 team took the Plate trophy, while the senior team booked a place in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Australia later this year.

90% target achieved

The team, under coach Robin Singh, are also in the running for a place in the 50-over World Cup after moving to second spot in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2. After a gruelling schedule of a month and half, the UAE are preparing for the next round of matches in League 2.

Former India all-rounder Robin Singh said he is happy with the team’s show so far, despite dropping a few points in the League 2.

“We have won six out of eight games and it puts us in a good position, at least going forward for the 50-over tournaments. We start preparing for the 50-over World Cup from here,” Singh said after defeating Nepal in their final clash last month. UAE have won five of the home contests to be on 22 points.

“We have achieved 90 per cent of our target, which is exceptional. Everyone needs to be credited for this success. The team, the staff, the trainers,” he added.