June 17, 2008

UAE

The poor sons of cricket

Martin Williamson

A fascinating report in The National highlights that while the IPL might bring massive rewards, most international players, especially those outside the top flight, live a more modest existence.

UAE allrounder Khurram Khan reckons that it costs him money to play as he has to take unpaid leave from his job with Emirates airline.

"He might play a match, then be flying out on the night of the game to Melbourne on a 20-hour flight. Just imagine how hard that is. If he plays a four-day match, he would almost certainly then have a four-day job with his work to Melbourne, or Tokyo, or Jakarta.”

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by How I Make $300 a Day Posting Links Online on (June 30, 2009, 19:07 GMT)

Cool post, just subscribed.

Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (June 20, 2008, 7:23 GMT)

The UAE cricket officials should better the Stanford Twenty20 model. Instaed of luring foreigners to play in and also, for the coutry, they should try to develop local talent. Stanford Twenty20 in the West Indies does not involve any big or small foreign names, but is still a huge hit among the fans. It’s true that it’s yet to be seen the how much good it augurs for West Indies cricket.

But how much has the astronomically rich UAE cricket officials done to make the Emirates (the nation, not the airlines) a cricketing power to recon with? Remember, the UAE squad for the ICC World Cup 1996 had only two locals – Captain Sultan Zarawani, whose only claim to fame in the Cup was being on his sun hat by Allan Donald, and Saeed-Al-Saffar, who barely manged a look-in in the final eleven.

Posted by Hari on (June 20, 2008, 0:37 GMT)

I am an Indian immigrant in Australia. I am surprised to hear that an Emirates airline couldnt pay his employee playing for the national on leave, let alone sponsoring him. Here I can see another airline Fly Emirates sponsoring a local footy team in Melbourne. They even adopted a local footy statium. Come on its an oil rich country. They couldnt even give their employees a paid holiday ?

Posted by anonymous on (June 19, 2008, 19:04 GMT)

The National recently ran another story about one of the young UAE players Shoaib Sarwar who actually quit his job two months ago to commit more time to cricket. Then he didn't even get picked for the Asia Cup squad! What a sorry state of affairs

Posted by uae life on (June 19, 2008, 9:57 GMT)

It is a sad place i live in. now imagine the future everyone is talking bad about the board which is without a doubt true. uae is a country which has no politics except for cricket due to the bukhtir regime kick out everyone in there and start building the future of uae cricket develop the game among the nationals whether its starting from division 5 but its a fresh start and the game needs to develop in the country then only the finance will come and the crowds will be full of the country men i pray for the day to come and it will come when the board will change and when we will have a full crowd for a game for uae not ecb but uae with all nationals .............

Posted by Sharon Cabraal on (June 19, 2008, 7:12 GMT)

The article heading should be re-phrased as - "Poor Sons of a Very Rich Father"!

Posted by George Ponnambalam on (June 19, 2008, 5:08 GMT)

"UAE all rounder Khurram Khan reckons that it costs him money to play as he has to take unpaid leave from his job with Emirates airline." Mr Bukhatir did you hear that? shocking and shameful. Mr Mazhar Khan has the gall to utter the following words: “Some say, why doesn’t the board support it? But it is not a small amount. On average, a cricketer earns $2-3,000 per month..." Shame on you Mr Mazhar Khan - you people paid millions of US Dollars to retired foreign cricketers as their pension even though they had NEVER played for UAE but you can't spare funds to sustain your OWN 15 man national squad. Please don't try to fool the outside world. You are trying to act the part of the begger when you could very well dissolve the CBFS and divert the funds to your national squad's upkeep. What's the purpose of maintaining funds in the CBFS now? How many international tournaments has it organized in the past 5 years? For whom are you people keeping these funds? Dissolve CBFS for heavens sake.

Posted by Buwaneka Lewke Bandara on (June 19, 2008, 4:31 GMT)

It is interesting that we constantly discuss about having democracy in USA cricket - wonder whether they hold proper elections to the UAE Cricket Board. How is it in a domocracy its head Abdul Rahman Bukhatir is President for Life? Is he trying to imitate Robert Mugabe? From the time I know Mr Bukhatir is the head of UAE cricket. Is this some kind of record?

Posted by Conrad Francis on (June 18, 2008, 17:40 GMT)

It is upto Martin Williamson and Cricinfo who have the welfare of minor cricketing nations at heart to bring the true situation of UAE cricket into the public domain as it is obvious with the headstart UAE cricket got from conducting international tournaments in the 1980s and 1990s it should have been the No 1 ICC Associate Member by now. However something has gone wrong somewhere and all is not well in the Emirates. It seems Abdul Rahman Bukhatir is avoiding the public as I have seen several such complaints against his Board in other media and he never bothers to answer these allegations. Simple question: If Abdul Rahman Bukhatir could splurge millions of dollars into the pockets of former Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan players - the majority of whom he had never even met before - in the name of retirement benefits, why on earth can't he ask the 15 member UAE squad to quit their jobs and provide them with a monthly salary enabling them to concentrate on their cricket full time?

Posted by zonks on (June 18, 2008, 12:11 GMT)

So true. Having lived and played cricket in the UAE for the last 7 years, I have seen the way the game is run. To say that Mazher Khan, Abdul Rahman Bukhatirr and his ponies are just stealing whatever the ICC provides would be an understatement. It is like a cashier stealing cash from the till, as the chances of somebody conducting an investigation are small.

Could you ever imagine that the Head quarters of the the International Cricket Council would be based in a country (a very rich one at that) where the game receives no financial backing whatsoever.

I played all my school cricket on sand and stone, and 7 years on from that, I see school tournaments (are there any left?) still being played on patches of sand and stone.

And the 'administrators' talk about trying to do all they can to benefit the game. A few of the players in the UAE squad for the Asia Cup don't deserve to be there.

All I can say is,get rid of the people who run the Emirates Cricket Board.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
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.

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