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As World Cup looms, UAE face Afghanistan in one day series

DUBAI: United Arab Emirates coach Aaqib Javed is hoping the series of four one-day internationals against Afghanistan starting this week in Dubai will help prepare his team for next year’s World Cup.

The February-March World Cup will be UAE’s second after they featured in the 1996 event held in the subcontinent while for Afghanistan it will be their maiden appearance in a 50-over tournament.

Javed, a former Pakistan paceman, said he would have liked his team to compete against a full Test playing nation.

“Look, it would have been ideal had we got a few matches against a top team but all of them are busy so even playing against a one-day status team will give us good preparation,” Javed told AFP.

The four one-day matches will be played on November 28, 30, December 2 and 4 — all at the International Cricket Council (ICC) academy in Dubai.

The academy grounds at Dubai Sports City include pitches that have been made with soil imported from Western Australia and Queensland, where UAE and Afghanistan will play some of their matches.

UAE is placed in World Cup Group B alongside defending champions India, Pakistan, the West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ireland.

Afghanistan are in Group A with Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, England, Scotland and Bangladesh.

Javed said his team can still get to play top teams under an ICC High Performance Programme likely to be held in Januray next year.

“The ICC is planning a few matches against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and may be Pakistan come here for parctice ahead of the World Cup so we can have a few tough matches as well but this is yet to be finalised,” said Javed, UAE coach since March 2012.

Javed played 22 Tests and 163 one-day internationals for Pakistan and was also a coach at Pakistan’s national cricket academy in Lahore. -AFP

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