In 1892, the United Kingdom took responsibility of the Sheikhdoms, and cricket was introduced by the British Army in what is now the UAE, but was then known as the "Trucial States". The game spread during World War II, as personnel from the British Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth forces (which included first-class and club cricketers from Australia and New Zealand) stationed in cities such as Ajman, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah, continued their favourite pastime. The pitches installed by them around the air base in Sharjah were used by British and other foreign nationals after the war ended.
Sharjah residents began playing the Dubai residents in the local derbies which were held in Dubai. The Garden city of Al Ain has the oldest cricket council in the whole of the UAE. The popularity of the game declined after independence in 1971; however, when South Asians began settling in the country, they brought with them a wish to play cricket. The local Arab population, educated in India and Pakistan, set up clubs and domestic tournaments began in the 1980s.
The first match was played by the UAE national side in February 1976 against Pakistan International Airlines in Sharjah. The visitors scored 345/5 from their 50 overs and the UAE were on 88/4 from 28 overs when the game was abandoned due to rain.
Wealthy locals began investing in the sport and an International standard cricket ground was constructed in Sharjah. The Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium hosted its first international event in 1984 when India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka contested the Asia Cup. The venue has gone on to host almost 200 ODIs and four Test matches, the Test matches having been held there due to security concerns in Pakistan.
The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) was established in 1989 and gained affiliate membership of the ICC the same year. They were quickly promoted to associate member status the following year. Also in 1990 the national side returned to action, twice losing heavily to the Netherlands. These heavy defeats showed that much work needed to be done if the UAE were to be successful in the 1994 ICC Trophy and the ECB adopted a controversial policy.
Hoping to form a successful national side in time for the tournament in Kenya, the ECB attracted several players with first-class experience in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to take up employment in the country so that they could satisfy the residential requirements to represent the UAE in the tournament.
With just one native Arab selected in the shape of Sultan Zarawani, who captained the side, the UAE won the trophy and thus qualified for the 1996 World Cup. UAE had beaten Kenya in the final, and the Kenyan players and cricket board were very vocal in their anger at being defeated by what they and other observers described as a team of imported mercenaries.
Whilst the ICC remained relatively silent on the controversy, the national team eligibility requirements were strongly tightened for all future ICC sanctioned tournaments.
The UAE played their first ODIs in 1994 when they played against India and Pakistan in the Austral-Asia Cup, which they also hosted. They finished last in a tri-series against Kenya and the Netherlands the same year and also finished last in a tournament against the A sides of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1995. They returned to ODI cricket in the 1996 World Cup where they lost all matches except the one against the Netherlands, which was the first ever ODI between two associate members of the ICC.
Later in 1996 the UAE were runners-up to Bangladesh in the first ACC Trophy. The tightened eligibility rules meant that they were unable to repeat their 1994 success when they finished tenth in the 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia. They were beaten by Bangladesh in the semi-finals of the 1998 ACC Trophy.
With Bangladesh being promoted to ICC full membership, the UAE began to establish themselves as the top associate side in Asia, though they often fell short against the top associates in Europe and North America, a position that remains to this day. They won the ACC Trophy in 2000 and 2002, beating Hong Kong and Nepal in the respective finals, but finished fifth in the 2001 ICC Trophy in Canada.
UAE hosted the 2004 ICC Six Nations Challenge and finished fifth, level on points with four other teams. The year was a busy one for the UAE cricketers as they played the first Intercontinental Cup match against Nepal, with Ali Asad taking nine wickets in the first innings. They beat Malaysia later in the tournament but lost to Canada in the semi-finals. They also won the ACC Trophy again, beating Oman in the final. They returned to ODI cricket, losing to India and Sri Lanka in the first round of the Asia Cup, and finished fourth in the Hong Kong Sixes, beating India and South Africa on the way.
They reached the semi-finals of the ICC Intercontinental Cup again in 2005, also playing a series against England A at Sharjah, losing all four matches. The 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland saw them finish sixth. They beat Hong Kong in the final of the 2006 ACC Trophy, but began their 2006 ICC Intercontinental Cup campaign with an innings defeat by Namibia. The campaign continued with a draw against Scotland and a defeat by Ireland, again by an innings. They finished fourth in the first ACC Twenty20 Cup in 2007.
Their campaign in the 2007-08 ICC Intercontinental Cup was unsuccessful, with just one win against Bermuda in their seven matches. Things went better for them in Division Two of the World Cricket League in Windhoek in 2007, winning the tournament after beating Oman in the final.
They again played in the Asia Cup in 2008, losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the first round. Their 2008 ACC Trophy Elite began with a shock defeat by Saudi Arabia, their first ACC Trophy defeat since the 1998 semi-final. They lost to Hong Kong in the final, ending a run of four consecutive titles.
The UAE hosted and were runners-up at the 2009 ACC Twenty20 Cup, losing the final to Afghanistan, after winning four group matches and accounting for Oman in their semi-final.
In October 2010, the team announced that it had hired Kabir Khan to become its coach. Khan had great success with the Afghan team during his one-year stint as they became eligible to play ODIs. Kabir Khan also stated that his aim was to help UAE qualify for the 2012 ICC World Twenty20.
In April 2011, the UAE hosted and won Division Two of the World Cricket League without losing a match. In June/July 2011, they played Kenya at Nairobi for the first round of 2011–13 ICC Intercontinental Cup. In December, the UAE participated in the 2011 ACC Twenty20 Cup in Nepal. Then in 2013, they traveled to Scotland to compete in the 2013 Cricket World Cup Qualifier, the final event of the 2009–13 World Cricket League.
UAE finished third in the 2013 ACC Twenty20 Cup which after defeating Hong Kong in the play-off for third place. In November, they hosted 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier and finished fourth after losing to Nepal in the play-off for third place, and qualified for the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, defeating the Netherlands by 10 runs in the quarter-final.
Afthab Muhammad Nisar is the captain of UAE's under 17 side
UAE participated in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 but were unsuccessful in the tournament, going without a win. UAE finished second in the 2014 ACC Premier League and qualified for the 2014 ACC Championship. They also qualified for 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
UAE qualified to play in the Cricket World Cup after a lapse of almost twenty years. Unlike other teams in the tournament, the squad of players mainly consisted of semi-professionals. The team registered their highest ODI total ever at the 2015 Cricket World Cup in a group stage match played against Zimbabwe in Nelson, New Zealand. However, they failed to register a win and were eliminated from the 2015 Cricket World Cup with 6 losses out of 6 matches in Pool B.
Updated 3 November 2016
In terms of infrastructure, the UAE have the best stadiums as compared to other Associate members: Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi; DSC Cricket Stadium, Dubai and Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah, which has hosted around 200 ODIs and Test matches.
International stadiums in Ajman and Al Ain are currently under development.
The following are the main cricket stadiums in UAE:Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah
Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Dubai Cricket Council Ground No 1, Dubai
Dubai Cricket Council Ground No 2, Dubai
ICC Global Cricket Academy 1, Dubai
ICC Global Cricket Academy 2, Dubai
Ajman International Cricket Stadium (under construction), Ajman
Al Ain International Cricket Stadium (under construction), Al Ain
1979 to 1986: Not eligible – Not an ICC member
1990: Did not participate
1997: 10th place
2001: 5th place
2005: 6th place
2009: 7th place
2014: Runner up (Qualified for 2015 Cricket World Cup)
2010: 3rd Place
2013: 4th Place
2015: 14th Place
2004: Semi Finals
2005: Semi Finals
2006: First round
2009–10 (Shield): 2nd place
2011–13: 4th place
2007 Division Two: Champions
2009 World Cup Qualifier: 7th place
2011 Division Two: Champions
2011–13 WCL Championship: 3rd place
2014 World Cup Qualifier: Runnerup
1983 to 1988: Not eligible – Not an ACC member
1990/91: Did not participate
1995: Did not participate
1997: Did not qualify
2000: Did not qualify
2004: First round
2008: First round
2010: Did not qualify
2012: Did not qualify
2014: Did not qualify
2016: First round, 5th place
1996: Runners up
1998: Semi Finals
2008 (Elite): Runners up
2010 (Elite): 6th place
2012: Winners (Shared trophy with Nepal)
2007: 4th place
2011: 5th place
2013: 3rd place
2014: 7th place
For many coaches, the exact dates of their tenure are unavailable, although key tournaments are noted:
International Match Summary – United Arab Emirates
Last updated 31 March 2017.Highest team total: 285/7 v Zimbabwe, 19 February 2015 at Saxton Oval, Nelson
Highest individual score: 132* by Khurram Khan v Afghanistan, 30 November 2014 at ICC Global Cricket Academy, Dubai
Best innings bowling: 6/34 by Zahoor Khan v Ireland, 2 March 2017 at ICC Global Cricket Academy, Dubai
ODI record versus other nations
Records complete to ODI #3857. Last updated 31 March 2017.Highest team total: 179/4 v Afghanistan, 19 December 2016 at ICC Academy Ground, Dubai
Highest individual score: 77 by Rohan Mustafa v Afghanistan, 19 February 2016 at Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium, Fatullah
Best innings bowling: 3/9 by Rohan Mustafa v Oman, 22 November 2015 at Shekh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
T20I record versus other nations
Records complete to T20I #583. Last updated 18 January 2017.Highest team total: 330/9 v Bermuda, 27 February 1994 at Nairobi Club Ground
Highest individual score: 126 not out by Azhar Saeed, 25 February 1994 at Aga Khan Sports Club Ground, Nairobi
Best innings bowling: 5/32 by Ahmed Nadeem v USA, 1 July 2005 at The Meadow, Downpatrick
Highest team total: 459/4 v Brunei, 14 August 2006 at Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur
Highest individual score: 213 not out by Arshad Ali v Brunei, 14 August 2006 at Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur
Best innings bowling: 9/74 by Ali Asad v Nepal, 25 March 2004 at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium
Highest ever partnership for 7th wicket in World Cup history(Amjad Javed and Shaiman Anwar 107 v Ireland,Amjad Javed and Nasir Aziz 107 v West Indies).UAE became the first team to score 100+ runstand for the 7th wicket in World Cup history.Thus,Amjad Javed is the only player in World Cup history to involve in two 100+ run stands for the seventh wicket.
Khurram Khan is the oldest player to score an ODI century as well as the oldest player to score his maiden ODI century(at the age of 43 years and 162 days).
The following lilst contains the 14 players in UAE's squad for the 2017 Desert T20 Challenge:
Amjad Javed (c)