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Since qualifying for the 1996 World Cup, UAE have stood still while other teams have gone ahead of them. Writing in The National, Paul Radley contrasts their situation with that of two rising Asian powers, Afghanistan and Nepal.
Afghanistan, for example, were this month accepted into the Asia Cup, the continent's premier one-day international tournament, as the fifth side along with the Test nations. It is not difficult to see that becoming a permanent arrangement, given the inexorable rise the sport has enjoyed in a nation still the ravages of war. The Afghans are a decent team who will get better and - crucially, given how broadcasters pilot the sport - they are box office. Yet Afghanistan was still a good seven years away from even setting up a formal national team when the UAE won the 1994 [ICC] trophy.
They are not the only Asian side who have thrived where the UAE has stood still. Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, rates Nepal as one of the team's main rivals for qualification in New Zealand. Where the national team once had no worries over facing the Nepalese, recent history suggests the two teams are evenly matched
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