USA and UAE are two names that you don't hear much about in cricket. However, they are working very hard to make a mark in a sport that is followed by billions. Starting with the USA, they were formerly organized by the United States of America Cricket Association and became an Associate Member of the ICC in 1965.
However, 5 years ago, the USACA was expelled due to governance and financing issues which then saw the ICC Americas managing the superpower. But only two years later, the associate membership was granted back to USA cricket.
The USA made its international tournament debut in the 1979 ICC trophy which is now known as the World Cup qualifier. The USA also won the 2004 ICC Six nations challenge that gave them the green ticket to feature in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy.
It was then when the USA played their first ODI but the nation was behind in earning the T20 status and had to wait until 2018.
Since then, all Twenty20 matches played between the United States and other ICC members (January 1, 2019), are a full T20I. Their first-ever T20I was scheduled against the United Arab Emirates in March 2019.
The USA also finished fourth in the World Cricket League in 2019 as a result of a loss to PNG in the third-place match. It was the USA's third ODI only and their first since 2004.
This fourth-place finish helped them earn a spot in 2019–22 ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, where each team carried the ODI status. The team's first domestic ODI series began on September 13, 2019, when they hosted Papua New Guinea and Namibia.
July 2019 witnessed USA handing central contracts to 17 players. Saurabh Netravalkar, Karima Gore, Elmore Hutchinson, Aaron Jones, Nosthush Kenjige, Jaskaran Malhotra, Nisarg Patel, Sagar Patel, Timil Patel, and Rusty Theron were given three-month central contracts, while Jasdeep Singh, Monank Patel, Xavier Marshall, and Steven Taylor earned a one-year central contract.
October 2021 saw Monank Patel taking over the captaincy from Saurabh Netravalkar. Hopefully, in the years to come, we will see the USA competing neck-to-neck against the top cricketing nations. And when that happens, the USA's contribution to the sport will only get bigger.
A play that has hosted so many games over the years, UAE themselves were behind when it came to participating in the sport. The UAE cricket team are governed by the ECB (Emirates Cricket Board) which became ICC's Affiliate member in 1989 and as an Associate member in 1990.
The ICC headquarters have also been in the UAE since 2005 (Dubai). When compared to the USA, UAE have shown improvements faster and have won the ACC trophy on four occasions (between 2000-2006).
They also won the ICC Trophy in 1994 and played their first ODI match in that year, which followed their appearance in the 1996 Cricket World Cup too.
They also played ODI matches in the 2004 and 2008 Asia Cups and at the 2014 World Cup Qualifier, the UAE placed finished behind winners Scotland, thus qualifying for the 2015 World Cup and gaining ODI status in 2018.
UAE also made it to the 2014 ICC World t20's group stages and qualified for the 2019 ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers as hosts.
UAE have always chipped in the sport with some of the other factors, one of them being their stadiums. Be it Dubai, Sharjah, or Abu Dhabi, cricket irrespective of the UAE playing there or not, the local people have always received international reception.
# The Dubai International Cricket Stadium has hosted 34 ODIs, 13 Tests, and 75 T20Is, while the Sharjah Cricket Stadium has hosted 9 Tests, 240 ODIs, and 25 T20Is.
# The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi has hosted 15 ODIs and 63 T20Is and 15 Test matches.
Let's have a look at the UAE squad.
Ahmed Raza, Muhammad Usman, Chundangapoyil Rizwan, Basil Hameed, Alishan Sharafu, Chirag Suri, Muhammad Waseem, Rohan Mustafa, Waheed Ahmed, Zawar Farid, Vriitya Aravind, Karthik, Meiyappan, Sultan Ahmed, Zahoor Khan, Kashif Daud, and Junaid Siddique.
# UAE also holds some World Records in cricket. First is Khurram Khan, the oldest player to score an ODI century as well as the oldest player to score his maiden ODI century (at the age of 43 years and 162 days).
# UAE also became the first team to score a 100+ run stand for the 7th wicket in World Cup history. (Amjad Javed and Shaiman Anwar 107 v Ireland, Amjad Javed, and Nasir Aziz 107 v West Indies).
# Amjad Javed is the only player in World Cup history to be involved in two 100+ runs stands for the seventh wicket. It's quite evident that both the USA and UAE have a great future in cricket.
The next 10-15 years are very crucial and it's just a matter of time that we start hearing their names more frequently in cricketing discussions and debates. Thoughts?
Stay tuned with Cricwizz for more updates.