x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dilawar Mani: A shortlist of names to replace Kabir Khan drawn up

The Emirates Cricket Board are at an advanced stage in their search for a new head coach of the UAE cricket team.

DUBAI // The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) are at an advanced stage in their search for a new head coach, after confirming Kabir Khan will take charge for the last time against Scotland next month.

The governing body say they have interviews planned with a list of candidates to succeed Kabir, who is set to return to coach Afghanistan, the post he held before taking charge of the UAE in October 2010.

"It is sad we are losing him but it is for personal reasons," Dilawar Mani, the chief executive of the ECB, said.

"We have already shortlisted a couple of candidates and will start interviewing them shortly.

"This process will not take much time. It is not a single person's decision."

The manner in which Kabir's departure has come about is understood to have upset certain ECB members.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board stated on their website last week that he was rejoining them, which some board officials say was also confirmed to them by Asian Cricket Council officials.

Kabir refuted that any agreement had been made back then, but cited problems finding a suitable schools for his children in the Emirates as unsettling him.

He has now confirmed that his family circumstances have made his position here untenable, and he will return home to Peshawar in Pakistan after the Intercontinental Cup tie against Scotland, which finishes on February 19.

The coach says he is proud of the work he has done here over the past year, and has offered to help his successor, when he returns here with Afghanistan for the World Twenty Qualifier in March.

"I don't want things here in the UAE to go off track now, that would be very hurtful for me," Kabir said.

"I want the process to keep on going. I would offer my services for a week or 10 days, to give the new coach my knowledge on all the players and conditions they will face here so they can get up to speed quicker."

On his watch, the UAE have already taken two wins off Afghanistan in the new World Cup qualifying league.

His new players are excited about his return to a role he filled with great success before, with the Afghan wicketkeeper Mohammed Shahzad saying last week that Kabir was their "lucky coach".

However, the news of his impending departure has met with shock among the UAE players, who will now have to introduce themselves to a fifth new boss in the space of six years.

"It is a big loss for UAE cricket," Amjad Ali, the UAE batsman, said. "He was just building a team and then the news that he is leaving comes as a shock.

"Every coach has their own way of doing things but Kabir was an exceptionally good coach who would build a player on his own strength and abilities."