Captain says professionalism and greater exposure in world events will help country’s cricketing growth accelerate
On a reasonably good batting surface, UAE could only manage 123 for 6, a score Khurram Khan, the captain, admitted was inadequate. “On this wicket, the score was below par, to be honest,” said Khurram. “If you look at the previous games, 140-150 has been regularly achieved here. So yeah, we were 25-30 runs short on this wicket because of the last finishing overs. We did not score much in the last few overs. In the last two-three games, that has been happening every time.”
UAE’s innings was largely hit or miss, playing out several dot balls in a quest for boundaries. The singles were by and large ignored, and there were nearly eight overs worth of scoreless deliveries. “Let us not take any credit from them (Ireland’s bowlers),” said Khurram. “They bowled very well, in very good areas. Yeah, we were looking to get boundaries. The batsmen who were batting at that stage did not try to get singles. It does not mean you cannot get a boundary also. So it was a mix of both – we tried to get boundaries and did not concentrate on singles at that stage.
“There were a couple of times when we sent a guy in with the message that if you are not getting boundaries, at least keep getting the runs, rotate the strike, and in between, you will get the boundary. I think that was the difference in the end. We could not get boundaries in the last-four five overs, not enough boundaries to put pressure on the opponents.”
The team, made up largely of amateurs and semi-professionals, would benefit from greater exposure and complete professionalism, Khurram pointed out. “Exposure is definitely going to help a lot. The teams that we are playing at the world stage, we have not been exposed to such a stage. So obviously, we are going to learn a lot from here and that is what we are doing. We already tried working hard since we came from New Zealand. There wasn't enough time to prepare for this tournament but hopefully, we will go back and start working hard for the next one.
“The cricket board and the authorities in the UAE have to look into this matter (professionalising cricket). Obviously if you are not professional... Even if at least five, six, seven, eight guys, if you make them professional, let them get fit, it is going to make a difference. It is a good idea, the suggestion is already there and hopefully, they are working on it.”