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Australia play part in cricket history even as UAE’s World Cup dream fades | Geoff Lemon

The international T20 in Abu Dhabi was significant but it may have been a case of one step forward, two steps back

It probably wasn’t the biggest news of the cricket week that Australia would play the United Arab Emirates for the first time in any international format. But the Twenty20 match in Abu Dhabi on Monday was significant nonetheless, and heartening – a cricketing power making the effort to play a smaller team while preparing for a bigger series, in a manner that ideally would be standard the world over.

At the same time, it was apt that the day before the match came the ICC announcement that the 2023 men’s World Cup will again feature only 10 teams, like next year’s edition in England. The strong and reasoned criticism of this structure from around the world has been disregarded. And so the UAE’s chance of returning to the game’s marquee tournament after appearing in 2015 is practically nil.

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