UAE looking forward to hosting Under 19 World Cup
The UAE will become the centre of attraction for world junior cricket when, in February 2014, the country hosts the much coveted International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
"It's a great honour for UAE that we have been allotted this prestigious tournament to be contested by the world's best rising stars. The matches will be held in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. By being the host, UAE will get automatic entry into this tournament, which will be contested by 10 full member nations and six associate countries," Mazhar Khan, administrator of the Emirates Cricket Board, told Gulf News.
The ICC Under-19 World Cup, which began as a one-off event in Australia in 1988, has been held every two years since 1998. India are the defending champions after beating hosts Australia by six wickets in the final of this year's event.
The UAE will stage the tenth edition of the tournament, which India and Australia have won three times, Pakistan twice and England once in 1998.
"The top-class facilities here, with three international cricket grounds in close proximity, and our record of hosting some of the top international tournaments involving more than 10 countries — like the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers in 2010 and 2012 — have helped us in being granted the honour of staging a World Cup," added Khan.
But the good news for the UAE didn't end there, with Khan confirming more international cricket will be played in the country next year.
"Following the excellent feedback from countries that took part in the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers, the UAE has been allotted the 2013 qualifiers too and thus will gain the honour of staging the qualifiers for the third time in succession. As hosts, the UAE team will again automatically gain entry into this tournament." he said.
"The top six nations from the 2013 qualifiers in the UAE will play in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Bangladesh in March 2014.
"March 2013 will be the busiest month, with the UAE hosting the fifth round of the four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup and the Pepsi World Cricket League involving Ireland, Scotland, Afghanistan, the UAE, Kenya and Canada.
"Two English county teams, along with the MCC and Afghanistan, will also be playing a Twenty20 event here. In short, the coming year will be a busy period for the UAE, with international cricket teams playing in many tournaments here."
Meanwhile, the UAE are also focusing their attention on promoting women's cricket in a big way. "Our women's cricket coaching camp will start shortly, as we are taking part in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) tournament to be held in Kuwait in January. The UAE will compete alongside 10 countries in this event," said Khan.