International cricket in Dubai

Our columnist Tom Bushell on Australia vs Pakistan

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It wasn’t that long ago that we had international cricket staged right here in Dubai, as Pakistan and England faced each other back in January. Pakistan humiliated England in the Test, while England got their revenge in the ODI series.

Well, cricket is back and this time it’s Australia battling Pakistan on UAE soil. Pakistan’s team call the UAE home after being banned from playing in their home country as a result of security issues. With the two sides competing in all different formats of the game, the action continues across the emirates until Monday September 10. Afghanistan also featured in a one-off match against Australia on August 25, which they lost by 66 runs.

Australia have put a lot of effort into making sure they’re on top form to play in the UAE. Having been training in the heat of Darwin, the team believe they’re ready. The Aussies are aiming to claw their way back to the number one spot, and will undoubtedly do their utmost to ensure a return to the top.

In football news, Al Wasl continue to move on from former manager Diego Maradona and, at the time of writing, were looking at Afonso Alves as a potential acquisition. The Brazilian used to ply his trade in the English Premier League, where he played at Middlesbrough. Although he didn’t perform to the level that the club would have hoped for, he was a sensation in the Dutch league previously. Having spent the past few seasons in Qatar, he’ll be well adjusted to the challenging heat of the region.

Elsewhere, Al Ain player Omar Abdulrahman succeeded in securing a trial at Manchester City: great news for local football. Yet UAE players often face a recurring problem when searching for their dream move to a Premier League club. The player may be the best on the planet, but without a work permit to enable them to compete in England, any deal is quickly scuppered. To secure a permit, the player’s home country must be within FIFA’s top 70 rankings, yet with the UAE currently lying in 121st place, it’s almost impossible to get the necessary paperwork. Ouch.
Tom Bushell guests on The Grill (Sat 5pm, Dubai Eye) and hosts Dubai 92’s Tom & Dan Show (Sun-Thu 4pm).

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