x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Aaqib Javed wants UAE U19 team to step up

Cricket coach tells Amith Passela the boys need to improve if they want to play in the senior team.

Aaqib Javed, right, the UAE coach, was annoyed with the way the Under 19 team played during their defeat to Pakistan on Monday. Satish Kumar / The National
Aaqib Javed, right, the UAE coach, was annoyed with the way the Under 19 team played during their defeat to Pakistan on Monday. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Aaqib Javed, the UAE coach, is committed to continuing his mantra of giving youth its chance in the national team.

Chirag Suri, 19, a member of the UAE Under 19 World Cup squad, was given the opportunity to be a member of the successful UAE team in the 2015 World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand last month.

Rohit Singh, 20, and Moaaz Qazi, 18, from the U19 World Cup squad have been named in the World Twenty20 Cup squad in Bangladesh in March.

“If you don’t include youngsters in the senior squad, the team’s impression becomes dull. They also bring some freshness and more energy for the team,” Aaqib said.

“I understand the huge gap between the level of the youth player and the senior players, yet I want to accommodate some of them in the senior squad to gain experience.

“They need to be given a taste of what we expect from them in the future. For them, spending around three weeks with a player like Khurram Khan is a learning curve.

“They can just watch him on tour and benefit. I believe it is a good way to learn. They can learn from his routine, his thinking, his commitment, his work ethic, and his overall approach ahead of a game.”

Aaqib was clearly unhappy about their performance in the first warm-up match against Pakistan ahead of the World Cup, a 10-wicket defeat after being shot out for 101, at The Sevens in Dubai on Monday.

“That game was a complete write-off,” he said. “I think we can do much, much better.

“The two things that I want to clear from their minds are not to be nervous and not to get under pressure. To have one of these elements in the mind would mean that they are not prepared for the games.

“They are not kids anymore. The majority of the players are 19 or 20 and they actually should be at the peak of their adolescent age.”

After leading the UAE to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and the World Twenty20 Cup in Bangladesh in March, Aaqib is waiting for the outcome of the meetings he had with the Emirates Cricket Board for the course of action for the missions ahead.

The coach’s immediate task, however, is to give the final touches to the U19 World Cup team and break in some of the youngsters into the senior squad.

“We had a meeting after the UAE’s qualification to the 2015 World Cup and some proposals were tabled and more meetings are scheduled to draw up some plans.

“Of course we are now bound to have a system in place, because we are an ODI nation, which means we will be playing against tougher opponents, and then prepare for the 2015 World Cup.

“If we don’t plan and have a structure and system in place, we definitely will have to struggle.”

Aaqib is the first UAE cricket coach to lead the team in three different World Cup competitions, although they are playing in the U19 event as the host nation.

“Indeed, it is a very satisfying result for me,” Aaqib said. “When I decided to move as the UAE coach, I said at that time my wish was to lead the team into the World Cup.

“When I left Pakistan, everyone asked why I was leaving a high-profile job to coach an amateur side. They said I was wasting my time. My answer was a job is a job, and I want to see the UAE in all three World Cup tournaments and this has become a reality.

“Having said it, the actual work starts from now. To qualify for the World Cup was a massive achievement for the UAE. Now we are getting to a scenario where we have to play with the full-member nations.”

The UAE youth team, meanwhile, face Zimbabwe in their second warm-up at The Sevens in Dubai on Wednesday. They face England in the World Cup Group C opener on Friday at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. New Zealand and Sri Lanka are the other two teams in the group.