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The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has ordered that at least four of the country's 15-man Asia Cup squad must be Emiratis.
The UAE side has traditionally been almost entirely made up of expats from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India who are eligible under the ICC's four-year qualification rules. This was at its most apparent during the 1996 World Cup when the only non expat in the UAE side was Sultan Zarawani, the captain, whose place was more down to his passion and wealth than cricketing ability.
But the ECB has now moved to counter this with the introduction of a quota. Mohammad Tauqir has been named as the deputy to the captain, Saqib Ali, while Fahad Alhashmi, Alawi Shukri and Salman Farooq have also made the tour party.
Shukri, who had been campaigning for such a system, told The National that it was "a very good day ... we have won one small battle". He plays for UAE Nationals Club, a side of UAE passport holders plus three overseas players.
However, Shukri admitted to the newspaper that he was not exactly in the best state of mind for the tournament. "I have barely picked up a bat in three weeks, which probably is not the best preparation for playing against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka," he said. "But hopefully I will be OK."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.