x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Aaqib Javed seeks aggressive preparation schedule for UAE cricket team

With a training camp in Australia already planned for September, the UAE coach is also in talks with Pakistan, Hong Kong, India and Afghanistan about possible ODIs ahead of 2015 ICC World Cup, reports Amith Passela.

UAE coach Aaqib Javed thinks his side need not travel overseas during preparation for the ICC World Cup because of their state-of-the-art facilities and dry weather. Satish Kumar / The National
UAE coach Aaqib Javed thinks his side need not travel overseas during preparation for the ICC World Cup because of their state-of-the-art facilities and dry weather. Satish Kumar / The National

To win a couple of matches and create a good impression of the country’s cricket – that is UAE coach Aaqib Javed’s objective at the 2015 ICC World Cup.

The UAE are in Group B of the tournament, which is co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29. They face Zimbabwe in the opener at the Saxton Oval in Nelson on February 19 and will also play India, Pakistan, South Africa, the West Indies and Ireland.

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Aaqib’s preparations for the event began at the ICC Global Cricket Academy indoor nets last week, although a squad is yet to be officially announced.

“We have chalked out a plan and the priority right now is to work on some individual players, especially the batsmen, in playing the short-pitch bowling,” Aaqib said.

“We are working with some of the potential players to improve where they need to improve. It is a rolling squad at the moment as we are yet to decide on the final squad.

“In fielding, we are working on the sliding and diving, and then running between the wickets. Fitness has been one of our main concerns, but we are trying to address this from now on.”

The preparation also includes a camp in Australia from September 13 to 29 and playing as many games as possible from October until January.

According to Aaqib, the Emirates Cricket Board is in talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to play an ODI when their national team arrives in the UAE for the series against New Zealand and Australia in October and November. The Pakistan A team will be in the UAE twice in November and December.

“The UAE have helped the PCB during hard times and it is their turn to support us by providing one or two ODIs,” the former Pakistan fast bowler said.

“They have provided Afghanistan with that opportunity last year, and I believe the UAE have done much more for them and deserve a game or two. We are hoping they will give us three to five games against the [Pakistan] A team as well.

“We are also in talks with the Afghanistan Cricket Board to play four ODIs in November and December. We are also discussing with the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] to arrange an India A team or a state team to tour the UAE for three games.”

The UAE are also inviting Hong Kong to play three ODIs in January. Aaqib thinks there is no need for the team to travel overseas as they have excellent facilities at home and ideal weather from November to January to play all their warm-up matches in the UAE.

“We are going to Australia just to have an idea of the conditions. So I am quite happy with the plan we have drawn up as part of the team’s preparation. Our objective at the World Cup will be to try and win two matches,” he said.

apassela@thenational.ae

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