DUBAI // Kabir Khan, the UAE coach, hopes he has found the answer to the country's chronic dearth of pace bowlers, after handing two promising seamers debuts this week.
The national team has always relied heavily on a steady production line of spin bowlers, complementing a reliable stock of hard-hitting batsmen.
However, the pace-bowling cupboard has almost always been bare, but now Kabir insists there are signs of promise, in the form of the newcomers Sharif Asadullah and Naveed Saleem.
A UAE select XI went down to a 105-run defeat to the West Indies Academy at Dubai Sports City yesterday, but Asadullah impressed.
The Karachi-born seamer took three for 52 after taking the new ball. Saleem was absent this time, but had shone in a Twenty20 victory over Afghanistan, when he took two for 18, and Kabir is excited by his potential.
"From three years ago, when I was the coach before, until now we have been looking for a strike bowler," Kabir, who is in his second stint in charge of the national team, said. "[Asadullah] definitely has potential, and Naveed Saleem bowls around 80-85mph, which is quite sharp.
"We need strike bowlers. We have always been a very good spin bowling side and a very good batting side, but we have never produced quality fast bowling.
"I personally think these guys can potentially be very good fast bowlers for the future."
While the UAE will benefit from the cutting edge provided by a strike bowler, the national team's batsman could also do with the practice against them.
As part of their preparations for the Intercontinental Cup tie against Afghanistan, which starts on October 5 in Sharjah, the UAE will on Saturday face the West Indies senior team, who arrived in Dubai yesterday after their two-match Twenty20 series in England.