Dougie Brown insists the UAE will not just focus on maintaining their ODI status and believes there’s no reason why the nation can’t spring a surprise at next month’s World Cup Qualifier.
The national team booked their ticket to next month’s World Cup Qualifier after winning the World Cricket League Division Two last week. They face a stern task of winning one of the top two spots in Zimbabwe after being grouped with two-time World Twenty20 champions West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands and Papua New Guinea in the 10-team tournament.
The World Cup Qualifier is even more significant for the UAE as they will need to finish as one of the best three sides between themselves, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and Hong Kong to retain their ODI status.
Since being an ODI side following their 2015 World Cup qualification, the Emirates Cricket Board have received funding from the ICC which has been crucial for their development at all levels.
For Brown, he is fully aware of the significance of keeping ODI status but his players will approach the tournament with belief that they are capable of reaching their second-successive showpiece event.
“We are going there to look and compete of trying to qualify for the World Cup,” said Brown, whose side arrived back from Namibia on Saturday morning.
“We understand what we are playing for (trying to keep) ODI status but we’re going to there to ultimately put on a good performance in the tournament.
“It would be stupid of us of going there thinking that we’re not capable of doing that. We know on our day, we have a squad who can compete against anybody in that tournament. We do want to maintain ODI status but the primary reason of going there is wanting to go to the World Cup.”
The UAE will go into the tournament as one of the underdogs but says their WCL experience, where they won their last three matches, will act as good preparation.
“It’s going to be a very similar tournament,” said the 48-year-old. “We will be very well armed to deal with that pressure. Actually we will go there with no pressure on us because the level of expectations has dramatically reduced. That is because we are playing some outstanding teams as there are three Test nations and you’d expect them to be favourites. All the pressure is on them.”
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