Home > Cricket Development, UAE > Opinion: ACC Trophy… little to celebrate….

Opinion: ACC Trophy… little to celebrate….

UAE has thrashed Hong Kong by 5 wickets, needing only 35 overs to wrap up the match…….

Hence, nobody, except for Saudi Arabia in one game, came close to UAE. Saudi Arabia too probably need to be checked by the ACC for their player eligability, I cannot imagine how else a team can improve so drastically within a couple of years.

The reason why there is little to celebrate are 2 games that UAE played against Bangladesh A and Bangladesh Academy in Jan 2006. UAE played the same team as the one that has just thrashed everyone at ACC Trophy….. the results were Bangaldesh A beat them by 114 runs, and the academy beat them by 94 runs……

So if UAE is way above the rest in Asian associates, it is not yet at even Bangladesh Academy level……

Categories: Cricket Development, UAE
  1. Noire
    August 26, 2006 at 3:32 am

    Umm…I m not sure if we cud see it like that! Its not just some like simple mathematics equation like if A > B and B>C, A>C. Game of cricket, just happens…even Bangladesh pulled off an upset against Australia in NATWEST Trophy last year…that didnt mean they were no 1 ODI team on that day!

  2. August 26, 2006 at 4:15 am

    2 thrashings are good enough though…… its not like UAE has improved drastically since then…………

    ACC should have a program to get the top ACC Trophy team to get some tours against A teams, Academies etc of the 4 test countries

  3. Hossain
    August 26, 2006 at 4:55 am

    Actually, not only once, UAE was beatent comprehensively by BD academy team (which was basically their u/19 team) twice. Following scorecards are from BD cricket board site-


    I see UAE has changed quite a few names since, but still I don’t believe they have improved drastically since that tour.

  4. rego
    August 26, 2006 at 5:19 am

    Nasir..that UAE team was nowhere as good as the UAE side playing in this tournament. UAE did not play their main players, who were unvailable with work commitments, which is something that should not happen during these rare opportunities. I know for sure that alot of the UAE U-19s n U-21s played in that tour. If you want a good measure of the strength of the main UAE side, look at their results in the EurAsia Cup where they played India A, Pakistan A, Sri Lanka A, and Ireland and Netherlands. They thrashed both the A teams of the european associates, which was expected, though the Ireland team included 7 or 8 guys who are in the world cup squad now. They bowled India A, a side that included Uthappa, Dhawan, Venugopal Rao, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, R Sodhi out for 180 and then scored 140 odd i think. They scored 260 odd against Sri Lanka A, who had Upul Chandana, with Khurram Khan scoring a 100.

    I think this UAE side is probably much better than the Bangladesh Academy, and could probably give the Bangladesh National Team a good fight in the right conditions. I mean Hong Kong got Bangladesh out for 220 odd in the Asia Cup. I think UAE should look at playing the A sides alot more regularly.

    One concern of mine is that they have tended to rely alot on the 5 or 6 players ie. Khurram Khan, Arshad Ali, Fahad Usman, Mohd. Tauqir, Ali Asad. Its good to see new younger players like Saqib Ali, and Mohd. Iqbal emerging.

    Rameez Shahzad, Shoiab Sarwar, Qasim Zubair, and Abdul Rehman are between 19 – 21, and were selected in the team this time. Shoiab actually opened the bowling throughout the EurAsia Series and did a decent job.

  5. rego
    August 26, 2006 at 5:37 am

    The UAE team that played bangladesh was missing alot of their first team players..it was more of a development squad with many U-19 and U-21 players.

    A more accurate estimate of UAE’s quality is the way they performed in the recent EurAsia series which I’m sure you’ve heard about. They are probably much better than the Bangladesh Development Side and could probably give the Bangladesh National Team a fight. Before going to KL, they thrashed the Srilanka Development XI team, which had A players, and U-23 players.

  6. rego
    August 26, 2006 at 6:46 pm

    Hossain I think their improvement is apparent by their performance in the Eurasia Series. Though they might not have the same depth as teams like Scotland and Ireland, they are certainly a stronger first team side than the Bangladesh Dev. XI

  7. Azam Khan
    August 27, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Dear all,

    According to the ACC website 4 teams from Asia will participate in World Cricket League, as we know UAE & Oman are already in WCL Div II & now Hong Kong has secured a place in Div II, the 4th team must be Afghanistan as the finished 3rd in the tournament (ACC Trophy 2006). The above mensioned website also tells us about WCL Div IV but there isn`t any details either in ACC or ICC Website. If afghanistan has qualified for WCL 4th Division so why it isn`t mentioned in these websites (countries which play in Div 4, venues, date, time, etc) or Div 4 doesn`t exist at all ? Now there are only 3 divisions if you go to the ACC website & click on the way to world cup 2011 at the bottom you can read about the fourth Division & team. I`d really appreciate if anyone give me informations about Afghanistan`s participation in WCL !

    Azam Khan

  8. Ram
    August 27, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    Why is the ICC or ACC (or anyone for that matter) criticized for their World Cup qualifying structure when the FIFA is hardly criticized for the same?…That’s because the ICC’s prerogative must be to not only identify the best 6 teams (like it’s for FIFA) but also the most promising teams in terms of development…Obviously at some point, there’s going to be a conflict between the two objectives, which is why the qualification structure assumes added significance…

    The problem with cricket unlike soccer is that cricket has minimal or zero presence in Associate or Affiliate countries, which means development also includes raising the game’s profile which can only be possible through strong national team performances in important tournaments like the World Cup, which is why development of the sport in a country is so closely related with their World Cup qualification…Failure to qualify can make a country escape into cricketing wilderness for the next 4 years or even more depending on the fan following….

    Coming to this edition of the ACC trophy, people may point out that the best of teams beat the system and emerge successful irrespective of the tournament format and so if Hong Kong made it ahead of Nepal/ Afghanistan, they truly deserved it ahead of these countries…But sadly, cricket is not soccer and that Hong Kong’s participation in the WCL Div III tournament is going to mean little in the context of the ICC’s Development program….Unless Afghanistan/ Nepal get regular cricket against quality opposition, they’ll not continue to progress in the fashion they’ve….The ICC would do well to remember that Afghanistan/ Nepal have the highest potential (after Scotland and Ireland) at the moment and it’s upto them whether they want these countries to develop or not…It’s all fine to say that Nepal or Afghanistan don’t administer their cricket efficiently but if the ICC really wants cricket development, they can definitely do much more for the 2 Asian countries rather than spending millions on Canada/USA/UAE….

  9. August 28, 2006 at 1:32 am

    Ram, I agree with what you are saying……

    Azam….. to my knowledge there is no World League 4 or 5……. Afghanistan will have to wait for 2 years…… they had their chance, but bungled it up when it mattered the most……

    There are 8 teams in WCQS Div III, unless the ICC try to incorporate both Nepal and Afghanistan and make it a 10 team event…….. which is unlikely….

    The format of the WCQS Div III 2007 is probably going to be what it was in 2005…… 2 pools of 4 teams each, then the crossover semi finals and then the finals…… top 2 will go to Div II 2008, third will stay in Div III 2009, the other 5 will be relegated back to their regional tournaments, and will have to qualify through the regional system again……

  10. rego
    August 28, 2006 at 4:05 am

    Ram..I think you have to put some things into perspective…The ACC is not a charity organization or one to give out free donations…Nepal and Afghanistan are certainly the future of the cricketing world and we all know that. ACC puts in alot of time and money into both these countries. It was the ACC that brought Roy Dias to Nepal. Its the ACC thats financing the creation of a Cricket Academy in Nepal. Its the ACC that is working with the Afghan government to build turf wickets in Kabul etc.

    Beyond a point theres not much more that ACC can do. It has other members with potential as well, and it cannot afford to spend too much attention on Nepal and Afghanistan. ACC hasn’t helped Maldives with the major problem of facilities on their islands, which if developed would create one of the top teams in the region. The ACC has not given any special funds or monetary assistance to Thailand, which also has a huge development program. What would these countries think if ACC continued to pump so much money into Nepal and it kept losing when its counts. I think Afghanistan have improved immensely in the last few years and probably deserve every bit of assistance they are receiving and probably even more.

    Nepal on the other hand seems to have reached a level back in 1998 and hasn’t progressed any further since with its National team. The Cricket Association of Nepal has to take a pivotal role and attract more sponsors, attract the attention of the Indians and Bangladeshis and take it from there. Frankly the Nepali administration disappoints me. It is up to them, not ACC to take it further from here.

    Namibia, Uganda, Cayman Islands, PNG receive nothing from their respective regional boards, yet they have still managed to perform better on the world stage.

  11. Ram
    August 28, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Rego…I know the ACC is concentrating on Nepal and Afghanistan, not to mention China but I would really like to see the following happening ASAP in these 2 countries…Afghanistan, to begin with, need a cricket ground that can host matches against fellow Associates/Affiliates in front of 25-30,000 people…Even the development program can start later there…Make Afghanistan host some matches and everything else will ‘happen’ in Afghanistan….Lack of facilities is the biggest problem with Afghanistan…About Nepal, I just don’t understand why they don’t have a professional setup when Bermuda or Malaysia can?…To begin with, they also need a good cricket ground in Kathmandu and the establishment of a domestic competition for not only the 1 day version but also the 4-day format…I feel the inefficiency of CAN can be tackled through ICC intervention but unfortunately, the ICC seems to be more interested in USA/Canada…

    Coming to the ACC, they would do well to have a ‘decent’ format for the ACC trophy and the age group competitions, maintain a more pro-active website (more like Cricket Europe’s) and concentrate on countries like Malaysia, Japan, China and Thailand rather than UAE, Qatar or Hong Kong!

    About the other countries you mentioned, they maybe better now but we must remember how good Nepal’s age group teams are compared to these countries…

    The underlying point is: Afghanistan/Nepal have what other countries don’t..and that’s public interest, which is why even if they are of low standards, it should only be a matter of time….In what time that can be achieved depends on the extent of ICC/ACC backing…

  12. August 28, 2006 at 1:44 pm


    Nepal is a good case…… but Afghanistan, even if they have a ground, who is going to tour them?? Cricket is the least of the problems in Afghanistan, where there is a mountain of security related problems…….. You believe that Scotland will come to play in Kabul, even if there is a ground over there??

    The ground is needed in Afghanistan for their OWN players, because they obviously cannot keep on playing on roads………..

    I also feel that Nepal should have been given at least 1 match in the 2011 World Cup. That would have brought in some investment in terms of infrastrcuture development and also, the world could have gotten to see how the Nepalese throng in the 1000s to watch cricket.

  13. Hossain
    August 28, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Rego, UAE team core players like Arshad Ali, Ali Asad, and Saqib Ali came to visit Bangladesh. Other players in that touring team also had played ODIs, ICC trophy matches, or inter-continental cup matches for UAE. So, there is no reason for me to believe that it was an UAE development team that played against BD U/19 team.

    Also, UAE was the only country that fielded a full strength national team in Euro-Asia cup, even Holland and Ireland had sent their A-teams. There was no surprise that they did relatively better in that tourny.

    UAE team thrashed a high profile Lanka team before coming to Malaysia !!! Pardon my ignorance, can you please provide scorecards or news articles on those matches ?

  14. Ram
    August 28, 2006 at 6:40 pm


    Yes, Everybody knows about the political situation in Afghanistan but that is a problem that doesn’t have any short term/ permanent solution…As it stands, a subcontinental team like Nepal or maybe African countries like Namibia can tour Afghanistan and thus try to convince the rest of the cricketing world about Afghanistan’s case…It’ll not be easy but are there any alternatives in the long run?

    About Nepal, yes I think they should’ve been given a match or two….Not only that, it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to give these leading Associates hosting World Cup games automatic qualification to the event, like they’ve in soccer…maybe Nepal for the 2011 event and Scotland/Ireland (if they haven’t got Test status by then) for the 2019 event….

  15. August 28, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    I think Auto qualification for the World Cup is a little difficult……. but one game could have been given to Nepal……. perhaps even an associate v associate game

  16. Nishadh Rego
    August 28, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    My friend Hossain..I think scoring 260 against Sri Lanka A and almost beatng them, getting India A out for under 200, and thrashing the other two european associates who had national players in their sides shows that UAE is a side that is good enough. If Hong Kong could get Bangladesh out for 220 in the Asia Cup, I think UAE could do just a little better. In regards to UAE beat Sri Lanka Development XI..go to http://www.emiratescricket.com..and look at the matches section of ACC trophy build up!!. I think the fact that UAE thrashed Bermuda this year also says something about their quality.

    Ram..I think its more up to the domestic sporting bodies to take care of the inefficiency in CAN. I think its unfair to say that ACC should pay more attention to AFghanistan or Nepal when they have 18 members that they have the obligation to manage equally. Its up to the AFghan government and corporate sponsors to provide the finances for a turf wicket in AFghanistan..not the ACC..

    I dont think an associate vs associate game would do much good..maybe a test team vs an associate..Some of the test teams could play warm up games in Nepal against the Nepali team as well

  17. Ram
    August 28, 2006 at 8:35 pm


    I don’t know how it works in Nepal but I know that they don’t even have a regular domestic competition in place…I don’t see Nepalese cricket going beyond a certain point in its absence….I would like to know if the ACC/ICC is doing anything in this regard?….However, more than the ACC, it’s the ICC’s refusal to acknowledge Nepal and Afghanistan that needs to be addressed…When they can have a Project USA in place, I’m sure they would be much better off focussing on these 2 countries…And, developing these 2 countries costs nothing compared to USA where no returns are guaranteed…

    Again, I’ve a problem with treating all members equally….Do Myanmar or Brunei deserve the same attention as Afghanistan/ Nepal?…Also, in that case, the ICC shouldn’t be having this HPP in place where funding is guaranteed to the top 6 Associates that qualify for the World Cup every 4 years…

  18. Hossain
    August 28, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Rego, I am guessing that you are directing to the following link-


    Well, the report said very little about the Lankan team. Anyway, I looked up in the web for the Lankan players, it turned out that some Sachith Pathirana, Umesh Karunarathna, and Thisara Perera plays for the current Lanka U/17 team.


    Well, there is no way to confirm that they are the same exact players who played against UAE. So, do you have any more info about the Lankan team ?

  19. rego
    August 29, 2006 at 12:18 am

    I don’t think its ACC’s or ICC’s prerogative to start a national league in Nepal. ACC’s job is to oversee and guide its members in the their development. The actual development has to be done by the members themselves. All CAN has to do is find sponsors who are willing to pay the provinces to play in a national league. They could also approach BCCI or BCCSL to help them with building new grounds with finance again from Nepali millionaires or billionaires (I’m sure there would be a few if they looked), and large companies, hotels, and banks in Nepal.

    I think Project USA makes or atleast made some sense when it was first started. When America takes up a sport, it channels in finances, coverage, and popularity into the sport that no other countries could possibly achieve. World popularity for basketball has basically come out of America and NBA. Imagine if America were to have an NCA or MLC that was just as influential. USA is completely different story and probably still deserves special attention.

    We don’t see a project Canada, Kenya, Bermuda, Scotland, Ireland. Look at where those countries has reached.

    The point I’m trying to make about Nepal in particular (Afghanistan has only played 2 ACC Trophies and has improved considerably) is that you can’t keep channelling in huge amounts of assistance and not get results! Expats or not, the bottom line is that the Nepali National Team is not strong enough yet, and seemed to have reached stagnation especially in their performances in the ACC Trophy.

    I think the HPP is justified because these countries have proved that they have reached a level where they are starting to compete with county teams, first class teams, “A” teams, and even some of the test teams. If they can do that, they certainly should be given assistance.

    Basically, a country has prove something before it is given anything extra, and Kenya, Bermuda, Scotland, Ireland, CAnada, Holland, UAE etc. have done this fair and square. Nepal’s U-19 team is certainly a bright spark in the future of the sport there, but until this performance is translated into tournament winning performances from the senior team that might get them to World Cup or at least the ICC Trophy, like teams like Kenya have done, they shouldn’t be lalled over like they are the next test nation.

    Myanmar and Brunei certainly don’t deserve anything at the present, but if they continue to improve then certainly. Maldives and Thailand who have improved certainly do!..Nepal hasn’t improved from the last time around!.

  20. August 29, 2006 at 11:07 am

    As far as I know, Nepal has a regional domestic competition in place….. they used to have six regions and the cricket teams from these regions played each other…… it was a short tournament, perhaps running no more than 10-14 days in the year, but certainly, it is about as good a strucutre as Canada……

    The second thing is ……. I dont know if anyone else agrees ……. Nepal IS a special case……. Their U19 team has achieved what no other associate country in the history of cricket could achieve……. in 2002, they beat Pakistan, Bangladesh and lost to England by 37 runs, beating other associates as well. In 2004, they beat South Africa. In 2006 they lost to England from a winning position, lost to Zim by 2 runs, and beat both NZ and SA. Their U19 team is as good as a test country’s U19 team, so they have something very special going for them there.

    Now the question is, as soon as the U19 level is crossed, Nepal becomes a mediocre team…… why? Is it the players being amateurs the problem? Is it the lack of games against strong opposition? Is it the lack of facilities for the players to hone their skills?

    Whatever it is…. I think that the ICC can theoratically take this as a special case, and perhaps increase their funding….. at least increase it to Uganda level………

    btw….. one more comment I would like to make…… until the mid 90s, most of Pakistan team was coming from U19 straight into the national team…… most of the cricketers, and some still dont, didnt play in the domestic cricket because they were superstars……. Imran Khan used to lament that fact all the time…….. all of Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Aaquib Javed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Inzi, Zahid Fazal, Ata ur Rehman, Saqlain Mushtaq….. even Miandad and Zaheer Abbas in the 70s, were all spotted in the U19, and drafted straight into the national teams………. In fact, the standard of the domestic was so low, that once you went in there, you would most likely NOT be picked for Pakistan….. it was only if you should a lot of talent in the U19 that they would take you in the national team and you would hone your skills on the field IN the national team, learning from the other senior team mates…… all of that was possible for the Pakistani U19 players because they had an international calender, and had national team games against other teams playing at the highest standard of cricket……… I do not think that domestic cricket helped out any player in Pakistan between 1985-1995….. now the situation is much better and much more different…… a lot of players are picked only after good performances at domestic level…… in fact, M Asif came into the national team after being good at the U19 level, played one test, got dropped, then went to domestic cricket, improved drastically and has come back into the team…….

  21. August 29, 2006 at 2:52 pm

    Rego…… you made a comment about UAE having better infrastructure and facilities, and that being responsible for their having a better team, not just because they have expats…………..

    This is highly debatable……

    I have no doubt in suggesting that Nepal is a better team than a born and bred UAE team……… also Nepal anhilates UAE at U19, U17 and at least beats them easily at the U15 level…… if UAE had a good infrastructure they would not be ranked at number 7 at U19 level in asian associates……..

    UAE’s match winners in Khurram Khan, Saqib Ali, Arshad Ali, Shadeep Silva and Ali Asad are all expats…… they may have been living in UAE for 10+ years, but the point is that that the skills that set them apart from the rest are NOT those picked up through UAE infrastructure….. if that was the case, then born and bred UAE natioanals would also be match winners for UAE….. at least 1 would be, but at the momment not a single one is……..

    Finally, something that Bruce Gaskelll mentioned once……. the UAE has limitless funding……. and if they had a good infrastructure, they should have been at least NZ level right now, given that their expat population is 2 million people. They should not be getting thrashed by Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland…… and should have been better than Zimbabwe………

    All this tells me that they do not have a good infrastructure, and it is basically because of their expats that they are winning the matches…….. if Nepal gets to this level, UAE and Hong Kong will just go ahead and pay better cricketers from India and Pakistan to come and play and live in these countries. Seems like a hopeless scenario.

  22. rego
    August 29, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    I’m not defending UAE here or anything…Obviously they do not have the facilities that NewZealand have as NewZealand are a test country. Also UAE do not have the same opportunities as Newzealand so there’s no point comparing them. UAE have excellent facilities and thats why they are better than Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain all of whom have expats. I did not say it was only the facilites..Ofcourse the skill and experience of an expat comes into play, but it is only regular practice on turf wickets, and matches at the sheik zayed stadium that will allow players like Khurram Khan to continue to maintain the skill that they possessed when they played in Pakistan! Skill can be lost over the years if it isn’t continuously developed and trained at a high level. Don’t compare Hongkong and UAE either because UAE are alot stronger. There’s a limit to how good an expat you can get to play in your country, and there’s a limit to how strong he will make the team. Beyond that point, its upto the facilities, coaching programs, and current playing experience to further the team’s performance. Thats what UAE have that say HongKong or Kuwait dont.

    Nepal is a special case in that sense, but when I talked about USA being a special case, I meant it in a much larger long term sense, where an American economy, if it embraced the sport, would create shockwaves for the sport, bring aloooot more money into it, and influence its development in other places.

    Are you sure that Uganda is given more money than Nepal? I think Nepal gets enough assistance from ACC that Uganda does not get from ACA(Africa Cricket). The ACC can keep giving them funds, arrange tours for their teams like they have in the past, however developing better infrastructure, a better domestic league, and preventing loss of players after the U-19 level is primarily CAN’s responsibility, and sad as it is, they haven’t been the most efficient organization around.

  23. rego
    August 29, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    Nasir there are rumors circulating that the WCL is a 5 division tournament. Andrew Nixon has even mentioned it on his blog caughtbehind.com/btb in a recent article? Any idea about whats really going on?

  24. August 30, 2006 at 2:53 am

    I do not know anything about WCL being a 5 div tournament……. i would be surprised if it is, because there isnt much time left to play div 4 and 5 now…… div 3 is next year……….

    secondly, unless it is designed specifically to cater for Afghanistan, Nepal and Jersey etc, I cant see the point of it……..  if that is indeed why they are doing this, well, it would be strange……..perhaps ICC is thinking that some countries are stronger than Fiji, Caymans and Italy and they should be playing this tournament…… well, then why have 2 new divisions? 1 new division would have done the trick……

    About Uganda…. they are definitely given more money than Nepal from the ICC…….. what ACC or Africa association does I dont know, I am assuming they both help out in their own capacities, but ICC gives around $50K to Nepal, and at least this year gave more than $100K to Uganda, because of the latters excellent junior cricket system……….

  25. Hossain
    August 30, 2006 at 9:06 am

    According to the following ACC link there is a WCL Div 5 league that supposed to take place in 2008-


    What it means is that bottom four WCL-3 countries don’t have to come back to regional qualifiers, rather they will be playing Afghanistan and whoever else qualifies from div-5 in the newly created div-4 league. This structure looks ridiculous to me, it basically closed the door for the potential countries like Nepal to take a shot at 2011 World cup qualification.

  26. Hossain
    August 30, 2006 at 9:32 am

    Wait a minute, the ACC page said five ACC associate countries going to compete for the 2011 WC qualification, is the fifth country Nepal ? If so, I guess I have nothing to complain then.

  27. August 30, 2006 at 10:41 am

    If you look at Div 5, it says “3 countries from across the regions based on rankings”…… ICC will probably put Nepal in there……..

    It doesnt improve or reduce the chances for WC qualification for either Nepal or Afghanistan………. but it has now made it possible for both of them to get through to ICC trophy….

    I am surprised that ICC does not have this updated on their own site……. and I am also surprised at what prompted this change…….. Perhaps it was the realization that all of Afghanistan, Nepal, Argentina may be stronger than Tanzania, Fiji, Italy now and should not be held back because they had stronger teams in their regions.

    I am sure Ram will be very happy to see this new structure.

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