By Joanne Bladd
Kapil Dev says UAE must first focus on developing cricket at the school level.
The UAE should not be allowed to host the Cricket World Cup until it is able to produce top-level players of its own, former India captain Kapil Dev has said.
The cricketing legend said the absence of international Emirati players was hurting the UAE’s efforts to craft itself into a destination for global cricket events.
“Until the UAE has cricket in its schools, I don’t think it will really be a destination for anybody,” Dev told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Laureus World Sport Awards in Abu Dhabi .
“One has to start with the schools and I haven’t seen much cricket played with the local people here. Before [the UAE is considered as a World Cup venue] I’d like to see some international players come out from the local population.”
The UAE has played host to a string of cricket matches in the last year on behalf of Pakistan, following a terror strike against the Sri Lankan national team in Lahore last March.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) stopped short of allowing the Arab state to host a few matches of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, after Pakistan was stripped of its co-host status.
The matches that were initially to have been co-hosted by Pakistan have now been allocated to be played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (the other co-host nations).
“The UAE must wait its turn,” said Dev, who was this week inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame. “Countries like New Zealand would come first.”
Commenting ahead of the start of the Indian Premier League on Friday, one of the world’s most successful Twenty20 tournaments, Dev denied that the shorter form of the game was hurting the popularity of test cricket.
“It’s the newborn baby, it’s new and exciting so everyone is interested,” he said. “But this game has really given something to test cricket.
“Younger fans pick up Twenty20, you get more spectators and that’s a good thing for the game, it’s helping to build its popularity. It’s a good path… to test cricket.”
Kapil Dev captained the Indian cricket team in the 1983 Cricket World Cup, which India won. He was named by Wisden as the 'Indian Cricketer of the Century' in 2002.
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