UAE's players, participating in the Emerging Teams Cup, have criticised ground facilities in Karachi, after a rain-enforced exit wiped out their hopes of a semi-final spot. The players took to Twitter to express their frustration after the abandoned match against Hong Kong on Sunday, but the tweets were later deleted and the team management refused to comment.
UAE had restricted Hong Kong to 87 for 4 in 31 overs at the Southend Stadium in Karachi, before a spell of rain that lasted for about half an hour interrupted play. However, the venue had inadequate tarpaulin covers to protect the pitch, and water leaked on to the square. Despite several hours of using sponges, the groundstaff failed to dry the pitch. As a result, the match was abandoned, with both teams sharing a point. Officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board, in charge of international and domestic operations, were also present at the ground. The Southend Stadium in Karachi has hosted one Test, in 1993, but doesn't currently hold first-class status and is largely used for recreational cricket, warm-up matches or women's games.
A win would have boosted UAE's chances of a semi-final spot. As it turned out, however, Bangladesh beat Pakistan to leapfrog UAE and qualified for the semi-finals, along with the hosts. UAE had beaten Bangladesh by 97 runs before losing to Pakistan by nine wickets, in their earlier league matches.
UAE captain Rohan Mustafa was direct in his criticism, tweeting "Might the organiser don't know the pain of when you get out of the tournament like that .. i am really sorry to say but we are out because of poor facility at the ground"
Left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza, who had bowled seven economical overs before play was called off wrote: "We @EmiratesCricket sat in the Sun for more than 4 hours waiting for the pitch to get dry because of the club level covers at the so called "Test" venue @therealPCB. 20 mins of rain ruined our chances of going through to the semi final #unfair #noreserveday #poorfacility"
UAE middle-order batsman, Rameez Shahzad, who was born in Lahore, also wrote on Twitter: "Never mind the security but there are more reasons to why international cricket has overlooked this part of the world when it comes to international cricket .. @ICC @icc_assoicates such a shame honestly #embarassing the way @therealPCB have dealt with it."
UAE coach Dougie Brown described the day was frustrating.
"It is incredibly frustrating and we are all pretty flat at the moment," Brown told thenational.ae. "It was a flat wicket and we had bowled magnificently. We were in a fantastic position, then it rained heavily for half an hour. When they took the covers off, the water had leaked all over the square. It was incredibly disappointing.
"To know the whole outcome of this, having played really good cricket to beat Bangladesh convincingly a few days ago, beating them by [nearly] 100 runs, and had chances against Pakistan, is frustrating. The most annoying thing is we spent the whole day watching the pitch drying in magnificent sunshine."
Pakistan hosted all Group B matches of the Emerging Players Cup, which featured the home side, Bangladesh, UAE and Hong Kong. The Group A matches - featuring India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Oman - are being played in Colombo, which will also host the semi-finals on December 13 and the final on December 15.