Pakistan v Australia T20 - Men's
Australia to play UAE in Abu Dhabi
It will be a first for Australia, who will take on the UAE in the lead-up to the Pakistan T20 series
Louis Cameron in Abu Dhabi
17 October 2018, 11:40 PM AEST
The United Arab Emirates will play their first ever official game against Australia next week after their tour match ahead of the Pakistan T20 series was granted full international status.
Australia are set to tune up for their three-match T20 campaign against Pakistan in the UAE with a match against the host nation at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium complex in Abu Dhabi on October 22.
Ranked 13th on the International Cricket Council's T20 rankings, the UAE have played 72 games since 1994 and featured in two ODI World Cups but Australia remain the only Test-playing team they've yet to play an official match against.
Australia’s Test squad have welcomed two members of the UAE national squad, leg-spinner Imran Haider and left-arm spinner Ahmed Raza, as net bowlers during training sessions for their series against Pakistan over the past month.
It's understood the pair, who are both in line to play against Australia next week, were even included in team meetings ahead of the ongoing second Test in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan.
Ahead of Australia's 2014 series against Pakistan, UAE wicketkeeper Saqlain Haider, a Pakistan-born bank teller born, filled in behind the stumps for Brad Haddin during Australia's four-day tour match against Pakistan A in Sharjah.
Emirates Cricket Board selector chief Waleed Bukhati said the game will give his side some much-needed game-time against a leading international team.
“This match will provide an exceptionally good test for our players," Bukhati said. "We need them to be put under pressure and for them to focus more intently by being challenged by higher ranked, leading teams within our game.
"To do so it is vitally important for the full member countries, and the ICC to support and provide the Associates with such opportunities."
Australia and the UAE's most recent encounter was an unofficial 2015 World Cup warm-up match at the MCG which served as Michael Clarke's highly-anticipated return from injury and saw the hosts prevail by 188 runs.
A small nation made up of seven emirates in the Arabian Desert, the UAE is best known in cricketing circles for hosting Pakistan home matches due to security concerns in that country.
While the UAE will not take part in next year's World Cup after the ICC reduced the number of participants from 16 teams to 10, the national side regained ODI status earlier this year during a qualifier event in Zimbabwe.
Australia have named a strong squad for the T20 series against Pakistan, with Mitchell Starc to play his first T20 at any level in over two years.
Aaron Finch has been appointed captain of the side with Alex Carey and Mitch Marsh named his deputies, while Test squad members Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar are also involved.
Ben McDermott could make his international debut while KFC Big Bash stars Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake and Andrew Tye also feature in the 14-player squad.
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Mitch Marsh (vc), Alex Carey (vc), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Darcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitch Starc, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.