In the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup League two series, the UAE have already lost twice to the USA.
There was a time when the UAE were far ahead of teams like the USA and newcomers like Oman in the Gulf region.
One cannot but ignore the talk in the domestic cricket circles that both the team as well as the game are being poorly managed now.
The common excuse for the UAE’s poor show is the shocking ban on some of their senior players — who are under ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit’s investigation.
It is unfortunate that the cricket ethics of some of the players in the team fell to such low levels, but it also needs to be investigated whether there was a slip in the managing these players.
Be it under the captaincy of Sultan Zarawani in the 90s, or a few years ago under Khurram Khan, all players in the team played to win and make the UAE proud.
These captains ensured the UAE qualified for the 1996 as well as the 2015 World Cups — backed by an enthusiastic team management.
Any national team can never be dependent on just three senior players and if the present poor show of the team is because of the ban on the top players, it means there is a shortage of quality players in the country now.
A look at most of the players who brought glory to the UAE will reveal that they were all products of club cricket.
There were a number of passionate team owners who picked good players, employed them to play for their teams and their organisations.
When clubs began to close down one by one in domestic cricket, none of the cricket authorities bothered to address their problems.
When Dubai Cricket Council (DCC), which produced the maximum number of cricketers for the UAE through their domestic cricket, lost their grounds, the cricket authorities have failed to find an alternative solution.
The ‘A’ division tournaments, which used to be keenly fought, have almost disappeared.
Inter-school tournaments like the Al Rawabi DCC tournaments, which groomed players for the future, have also died out.
If not for some of the cricket academies which have worked hard to groom youngsters, there would have been no talent pool to fill in the void created by the absence of senior players.
Amidst all these, two former captains Mohammad Tauqir and Khurram Khan, who came up through the system and led the national teams to glory, were quietly removed as selectors.
If the UAE Under-19 team has qualified for the upcoming Youth World Cup, a lot of credit should go to the cricket academies here who are doing great service to groom players.
Their inter-academy, inter-school and inter-collegiate tournaments have produced players to catch the attention of the selectors.
Today, players are not aware of who the selectors are and nor do the selectors know where to find the good players!