x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

New UAE coach wants to emulate the rise of Afghanistan

For Kabir Khan, the UAE coach, the pain of watching his side lose to Namibia in the Intercontinental Shield was tempered by the previous day’s win by Afghanistan over Scotland.

For Kabir Khan, the UAE coach, the pain of watching his side lose to Namibia in the Intercontinental Shield was tempered by the previous day’s win by Afghanistan over Scotland.

“I wanted Afghanistan to win the Intercontinental Cup,” said Khan, who joined the UAE as coach in October after 18 months in Kabul. “I was coach when they qualified for the finals, so all the best to them. The UAE is my team now and they should get to the top, like Afghanistan, in the future.”

Kabir is widely credited for his part in his former side’s fast track ascent into international cricket, having guided Afghanistan to official one-day status in 2009 and helping them qualify for the World Twenty20 this year in the Caribbean.

He admits that he is already looking at how he can achieve similar for the UAE.

“We have [World Cricket League] Division Two coming up and we want, first of all, to progress to Division One,” said the former Pakistan Test fast bowler.

“Then there are the T20 World Cup qualifiers, and we definitely want to qualify.

“But it is not just the senior team that I’m looking at. Our Under 19 team is going for World Cup qualifying rounds in Thailand in early February, so that’s another aim. The main thing is to make a basic infrastructure here by introducing more age-level cricket and bringing in local-born cricketers. We can that way bring some young blood into the senior team.”

Kabir added that he sees an exciting future for the UAE just so long as they focus on hard work.

“The facilities here are fantastic – we have cricket grounds now and we have academies. The main thing is to bring players in and try and groom them. That’s the main object and that’s my job here.”

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