UAE coach Dougie Brown says introducing more contracts will mean more competition for places

Denzil Pinto 20:24 26/03/2018
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Contracted: Adnan Mufti

UAE coach Dougie Brown has welcomed the Emirates Cricket Board’s (ECB) plans to introduce more central contracts as it would increase competition for places in the squad.

The national team returned home from the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe on Saturday morning and despite not reaching the showpiece event in 2019, they could reflect on a memorable three weeks.

They managed to advance to the Super Six stage, while also retaining their ODI status until 2022. Brown’s side also managed to deny Zimbabwe a place in the World Cup with an historic win – their first over a Test nation.

After ODI status was sealed for another four years, ECB member and spokesperson Zayed Abbas said they are hopeful of pushing ahead with plans to award more players central contracts. In July 2016, the UAE announced 12 contracted players – eight on full-time and four on part-time deals.

Brown says he’s been impressed with the players’ efforts and, if funding permits, believes it would be another positive move to have more cricketers on contracts.

“We probably have at this moment of time, about a group of 22 players whom we can call upon,” said the 48-year-old. “We know that if we are going to sustain our form, we need to have a far better playing squad for the games that we are playing.

“We also need to have a competitive environment, which at this moment of time, is competitive but needs to be more competitive. It would be good if that’s the case but it all depends on funding.

“I would love there to be more contracts but it’s a balancing act between what we require and what we would like and what is completely viable. At this moment, we only have the number of contracts that we have and hopefully over time we can have more.”

One of the players on a central contract is batsman Adnan Mufti. The 33-year-old has become a key member of the squad since making his debut in December 2016.

And the Pakistan-born player saying he’s reaping the rewards of being a professional cricketer.

“It’s been very good for us,” he said. “We have been going through a good process. After working full day, it can be hard to then go to practice. But these contacts is very good for UAE cricket.

“You can see in the results that we have been producing. The victory over Zimbabwe has shown how far we have come.”

He added: “Working every day in training is a big plus as it helps develop your knowledge while also making sure you’re physically fit as well.”

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