x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mani excited by new era under coach Kabir

The Emirates Cricket Board hope Kabir Khan can repeat the unprecedented success he had in his last job, with Afghanistan.

DUBAI // The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) hope Kabir Khan can repeat the unprecedented success he had in his last job, with Afghanistan, when he starts work as the new coach of the UAE national team. 

In the space of 18 months, Kabir took the Afghans from cricketing obscurity to full one-day international status, as well as an appearance at the World Twenty20 finals earlier this year.

Another marker of his success with Afghanistan, who play their home games in Sharjah, lies in the fact six players from the strife-torn country will be listed for purchase alongside some of the stars of the game at the next Indian Premier League auction. Dilawar Mani, the chief executive of the ECB, believes Kabir will find just as much talent to polish when he starts his new term in the Emirates.

"There is no doubt in anyone's mind that we have an immense amount of talent here," Mani said. "That needs to be harnessed, it needs to be properly coached and trained. "Colin Wells [the previous head coach of the national team] had done a good job, and now we need to take that to the next level. "Kabir Khan has already done that with Afghanistan, so I don't see why he should do that for us. We look forward to him joining us very, very soon."

Kabir is evidently keen to get started on his second term in charge of the UAE team, whom he managed for three months at the end of 2007 before returning to the UK to complete his level four coaching certificate. The former Pakistan Test player announced he had accepted the position before he had even received a formal offer from the ECB, which was sent out yesterday morning. "I will do my best to help UAE regain their status at international level and there is enough talent to achieve that," Kabir said.

He is planning on a three-year term with the national team, starting with a tour of Kenya then the Intercontinental Shield final against Namibia at Dubai Sports City later this year. His arrival means Mudassar Nazar, the former Pakistan coach who had been sounded out over taking caretaker charge, will remain in his full-time role with the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai. 

Mani said the fact Kabir has a wealth of previous experience of cricket in the UAE, meant he was the outstanding candidate on a short list which also included the former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams, and the former Australia fast-bowler Craig McDermott.

"We have to appreciate the fact he hits the ground running because he has been here before," Mani said. "He is familiar with the players and he is familiar with the talent which is available to him. "There is no cultural upheaval for him." 

pradley@thenational.ae