The beleaguered UAE national team was dealt another blow after it emerged that wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber had left the squad and country without explanation in the midst of the World T20 qualifiers.
Shabber did not show up for the team meeting ahead of Monday's game against Hong Kong, which UAE won by eight wickets. He was also missing from the UAE's fixture against Jersey on Tuesday, which they lost by 35 runs.
"At 11am yesterday, we had a team meeting, and Ghulam Shabber did not show up for it," Peter Kelly, the UAE team manager, was reported in the National as saying. "He did not show up for the bus in the afternoon [when the team left for the Hong Kong match]. ECB [Emirates Cricket Board] are doing due diligence. We are obviously concerned for his well being. We went out of our way to contact any next of kin that we could, as well as any numbers we had for him.
"We also searched hospitals to make sure he was OK. We also got people to go and check if he was at home. Since that point, we have managed to find out that he has left the country. What we do know is that he is safe, but we don't know the reasons that he has gone."
UAE are already without four players, provisionally suspended as part of corruption investigation. Mohammad Naveed, Qadeer Ahmed, Shaiman Anwar and Ashfaq Ahmed are the players currently suspended - the last after Monday's victory against Hong Kong - by the Emirates Cricket Board. Naveed, Qadeer and Anwar have been charged various breaches of the ICC's anti-corruption code.
There is no suggestion yet that Shabber's disappearance is linked to the corruption probe.
"It is out of his nature, and we are unsure why he left, and why he chose to not tell people," Kelly said. "He was not a part of the anti-corruption investigation.
"For the past 24 hours or so, we have been trying to find out if he is OK. We have managed to get to the point where we are. Where we go from here, we [don't know]. We do know he is OK, and he has left the country. That is all we know so far."
The last two days have thus seen UAE's 15-man squad cut down to 13. Whether they can be replaced in the middle of the tournament is currently unclear.