This is hardly surprising considering the large expat population from the Commonwealth nations and the ICC headquarters in Dubai. Cricket is a sport in the UAE that is much loved and pursued. The game has without a doubt thrived here with offices, sponsorships and solid support with the men’s team meeting all requirements for the ICC competitions now and again.
Is it the same for the women’s team also? Well, not really.
The pool accessible for selecting 13 was scarcely sufficient to create a team back in 2007. Humaira Tasneem, the current skipper of UAE who began her cricketing journey at the age of 14. “Competition was not really there. You knew you were a part of the team”.
The women have performed exceptionally well, given the restricted possibilities. Important was a runner-up finish at the ICC World T20 Global Qualifiers, which in 2018 brought the UAE to a 14th world ranking. “It was a pretty big deal since we’ve reached this far in only 10 years,” added Tasneem in a conversation with Gulf News.
“We went for the global qualifiers and became the 14th-ranked team in the world. Nobody was talking about it and we did not get the recognition we ideally should have received,” said Natasha Michael, Who took over from the UAE side at the age of 13.
Nevertheless, recognition and appreciation were lacking nowhere in sight. It was only then that their presence as a women’s cricket squad was recognized, a nice 10 years after their squad debut. After finishing their campaign on a high note, hopes had increased. It was supposed to have signaled the start of a constant upward path towards a large level. According to Michael, the scenario stayed “very stagnant.” She had hoped that the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) would assist move the squad forward towards higher possibilities.
Being part-time athletes who have to juggle their private lives, schooling, and work, sports training is going to get tough. These females, however, have dedicated to it. It is the undying willingness to do well for your nation fuelled by sheer enthusiasm for the sport that today in the UAE has maintained women’s cricket.
“Balancing work and cricket was an issue, but all the girls were always ready to come to play cricket and practice after work,” said Tasneem.
“We don’t get the benefits that fully contracted players get around the world (they are paid per tournament). We have to put our attention and focus on a day job as well as cricket, which is very tough.”
Such women’s match truths render comparisons with men’s squad unnecessary. The men’s squad has the advantage of having a full-time agreement to promote and support their sports growth.
Be that as it may, divergence among people in the game is dealt with still remains. “While I was growing up, people asked me if I play with the tennis ball as the hard cricket ball must hurt me”, Tasneem added.
In spite of the fact that it appears to be far to go for these ladies to arrive at their definitive objective of playing in the ICC World Cup, the versatile parcel are idealistic that with aggregate national help and expanding endeavours from the ECB, individuals of the UAE will be soon ready to discuss their ladies’ cricket crew with satisfaction.