x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kabir Khan bats for Aaqib Javed to take UAE cricket forward

Outgoing coach to return to Afghanistan side, but says his former Pakistan teammate is best candidate on shortlist he says after UAE are beaten by Scotland in Intercontinental Cup game.

Scotland beat UAE by seven wickets in Sharjah on Sunday.
Scotland beat UAE by seven wickets in Sharjah on Sunday.

SHARJAH // Kabir Khan, the outgoing UAE coach, says he believes his former Pakistan teammate Aaqib Javed is the best man to take forward plans for developing cricket in the country.

Kabir is leaving his job with the national side to return to Afghanistan, a team he guided from Division Five to the Intercontinental Cup title inside two years.

Dilawar Mani, the chief executive of the Emirates Cricket Board, has revealed Javed is on the shortlist of likely replacements and Kabir on Sunday gave his endorsement to the former Pakistan bowler.

"I personally believe that Javed is the best person," Kabir said. "He has got a lot of experience – a lot of coaching experience, a lot of playing experience, a lot of experience in Sharjah and UAE as well. He knows the playing conditions and probably the players as well.

"I believe he is going to put my plans in a much better position. I expect that and I hope that will happen."

Officially, Kabir's tenure as the UAE coach came to end on Sunday, following the seven-wicket loss to Scotland in an Intercontinental Cup match at Sharjah, but he will be staying on in the country to hand over charge to the new coach and provide him with details of his development plans.

Kabir, who took over the reins of the UAE team in August, 2010, had initiated a three-year plan with the aim of putting the UAE among the top six outside the Test-playing nations, earning one-day international status and creating a strong pool of reserve players.

"I am going to help him [the new coach] when he comes and takes over, with the players and the conditions, what my plans were if he wants to take them forward and how he wants to do that," Kabir said. "I believe things are on track here and if they stay on this course for the next two years, I can see UAE cricket going to the top. It is very easy to achieve No 6 position and get one-day international status in three years and that should be their goal."

Khurram Khan, the UAE captain, also looked excited at the prospects of Javed leaving his post with the Pakistan national team to take over the job here.

"He has been with the Pakistan national team for a long time," Khurram said. "I don't know if the board has already appointed him or not, but he is a very good coach and let's see if he is here."

Khurram, however, was disappointed about not being able to give Kabir a better farewell against Scotland, blaming the defeat on the batting collapse on the first morning of their four-day Intercontinental Cup match.

"Kabir is leaving today and we wanted to give him a good send-off, but that didn't happen," Khurram said. "We won a lot of matches when he was here the last time and this time as well. This is the first match we lost."

After electing to bat first, the UAE were bundled out for a mere 100 and Scotland managed to take a 205-run first innings lead. The hosts bounced back in their second innings, putting 318 on the board, but Majid Haq (39) and Richie Berrington (42) took Scotland past their target of 114 with an unbeaten 77-run partnership on the final afternoon.

"It was disappointing to lose all 20 points," Khurram said. "The first innings deficit was the main cause. We got out for a 100 on a very good batting track. Once that happens, you are always on the back foot and playing catch-up."

The win here and 20 points allowed Scotland (36 points) to displace the UAE (23) from second on the points table. Ireland are on top with 54 points.

arizvi@thenational.ae