The UAE women’s cricket team has called for people to show them some respect as they head in to their first ever international Twenty 20 tournament.
Members of the team opened up to 7DAYS about the challenges they face, between balancing work and representing their country, and how they are given second-class treatment compared to the men’s side.
With no steady contracts or allowance for basic expenses, the team said they need more support in order to face bigger teams like India with confidence.
Humaira Tasneem, team captain, said: “We need to be given more importance and attention. The men’s team does get more attention than we do, sometimes when we need the grounds for practice it clashes with the men we are put in the corner.”
Twelve players on the men’s team were handed contracts by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) in July this year, with eight players signing full-time two-year deals and another four signing one-year part-time retainer agreements.
The women’s team is currently participating in their first international T20 tournament.
Depending on how they perform in the tournament, they could be promoted and compete with more illustrious teams in the future.
However, the team will benefit from player contracts and more support from the board, said Indian expat Tasneem, who is currently studying at the American University of Sharjah.
“Right now we are either working or studying and don’t have any sort of contracts, if we do it would be a big boost,” she said.
“We are working hard but do not have the level of experience other countries do.”
Vice-captain Natasha Michael, 22, said even covering transportation costs would be a huge help to the side. “The men have contracts, it would be nice to have equality,” she said.
“We have practice four times a week in either Sharjah Cricket Stadium or ICC Academy. There are no metros going there and we have to plan car pools an hour ahead. It is time consuming and tiring.”
The sport’s governing body in the UAE, the ECB were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.