The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has received a major boost by claiming a major International Cricket Council (ICC) development award for 2017 at the governing body’s annual conference in Dublin.

The Gray-Nicolls Best Overall Cricket Development Programme award recognised the continued improvements in UAE cricket.

These included the national team’s retention of their One Day International (ODI) status and the women’s team reaching the ICC Women’s World T20 qualifier. There have also been nine new academy start-ups in the UAE over the past new year, while more than 200 new Emirati cricketers have taken up the game.

“We had really worked hard and it is the reward for our long hard journey,” Zayed Abbas, ECB board member, and  spokesperson told Gulf News. “The UAE teams and management deserve all credit for their hard work.

“We also used the budget for the promotion of the game effectively and also hired the right people for the job. We hope to go on to even better from here.

“We are delighted that the effort to put in an effective domestic cricket structure by introducing cricket leagues has shown its effect.”

The Gray-Nicolls Best Overall Cricket Development Programme award is given to a board that places emphasis on excellence in all areas including governance, management, performance, participation and promotion.