© Getty Images (Represenation photo)
UAE earned the ODI status early this year © Getty Images (Represenation photo)

Melbourne: Sep 9, 2014

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) cricket team touched down in Perth Tuesday to launch the final stages of their preparations for the ICC World Cup 2015, which will be played in Australia and New Zealand from Feb 14 to March 29.

With five months to go to cricket’s pinnacle 50-over tournament, the UAE is the first of the four qualifiers to arrive in Australia and New Zealand to hone their skills as part of a tour organised by the ICC’s High Performance Programme (HPP).

The UAE are preparing for their second ICC Cricket World Cup, having previously appeared in the 1996 edition staged in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the side will start a six-match tour in Perth before travelling to Darwin.

UAE coach Aqib Javed was a member of the Pakistan side that won the World Cup when it was last staged in Australia and New Zealand, in 1992, as well as the 1996 squad, and he said the HPP camp will provide vital experience ahead of the ICC’s flagship ODI event.

“Since the World Cup Qualifier earlier this year in New Zealand, we have made even more progress. This HPP camp, with games and training at different venues, under different conditions and against high quality opposition, is very important for our preparation,” said Aqib.

“We’ll then come back to the UAE and prepare specifically on Perth and Gabba wickets in the nets and across the ovals at the ICC Academy in Dubai, where we’re based. So this tour is very important as we ramp up our training in the final few months before the World Cup,” he added.

The UAE will play two one-day matches against the Warriors in Perth before travelling to Darwin, where they will face Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Northern Territory and the Redbacks in four games to complete their two-week tour.

The side gained ODI status in 2014 following impressive performances at the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier New Zealand 2014, and Aqib believes that the UAE have the talent to make a mark on the global stage in 2015.

“The team did really well in New Zealand during the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier 2014. Now it is a tougher task ahead, which the players are really excited about. They’ve got the abilities, so now it is about the mind-set.”

After sealing the fourth and final qualification spot at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 through the qualifying event, the UAE will join Pool B of the World Cup, along with defending champions India, qualifier Ireland, 1992 champion Pakistan, South Africa, two-time champions the West Indies and Zimbabwe.