Nearly more than two decades ago, United Arab Emirates made their One-Day International debut in the 1993/94 Austral-Asia Cup, which was hosted by themselves.
UAE replaced the then Associate nation, Bangladesh in the tournament and were placed in the same group with Asian heavyweights India and Pakistan. UAE were playing their first full Internationals after also securing their place in 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup by wining the 1994 ICC Trophy in Kenya.
Not an easy task by any means to be playing against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble & Co in your first ever ODI but UAE held their own by restricting India to 273/5 in their 50 overs and then scoring a respectable 202/9 in their chase.
Mazhar Hussain would remember the day when he scored 70 against a strong Indian bowling line-up.
Their 2nd ODI saw UAE come up against Pakistan and the legendary Wasim Akram along with the likes of Saeed Anwar, Aamer Sohail, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Saleem Malik, Aaqib Javed & Co. Perhaps, it was not much of a surprise as they were bowled out for a below pat total of 145, which Pakistan chased down easily in the 24th over, losing only a wicket in their chase.
A lot was happening off the field when UAE took on India, who themselves were playing for the first time in Sharjah after 1991 and just before the start of the game, then India team manager, Ajit Wadekar, suffered a mild Heart attack which the Indian captain did not disclose to his team and kept it hidden for as along as possible.
UAE captain Sultan Zarawani went onto leading the national side in India in 1996 World Cup, two years after UAE had made their ODI debut.
The Austral-Asia Cup, which was played in 1986 and 1990, was played for the final time with it’s third and final edition in 1994 in UAE. The tournament got scrapped due to busy International cricket calendars post 1994.