UAE's national cricket team is to have a minimum of four national players in all its representative squads from now on, with at least two of them being in each playing XI. "It's actually nothing new," says ECB Administrator Mazhar Khan, "there have been Arab nationals playing cricket in the UAE from the days of Abdulrahman Bukhatir but it's the first time that a decision like this has been formalized."

Four of the country's 15-man squad - Mohammed Tauqir, Fahad al Hashmi, Alawi Shukri and Salman Farooq - are Emiratis born in the UAE and since childhood have been playing their cricket in the Emirates.

On a recent visit to the Emirates ICC President Ray Mali spoke of the need to “create local heroes” in order to promote the game, and this is “very much a move we should go forward with,” says Mr. Khan. “Grass-roots level is where the future of the game will be built. At senior level UAE have been near unbeatable in Asia for a long time” he says, “it is at youth level we can do better and moves such as this are things to go forward with if we are to get more youngsters playing.” School cricket competition has yet to be formalized but “I hope it will be the next step,” says Mr. Khan.

Related: UAE Aim High at Asia Cup

Filed June 3, 2008