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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Owais Shah to continue as UAE cricket coach another three months

Paul Radley reports former England batsman Owais Shah's temporary charge of the UAE cricket team has been extended to the end of January.
Owais Shah shown during his playing days with England, in a Champions Trophy match in 2009. Lee Warren / Gallo Images
Owais Shah shown during his playing days with England, in a Champions Trophy match in 2009. Lee Warren / Gallo Images

DUBAI // Owais Shah’s spell as interim coach of the UAE has been extended until the end of January.

The former England batsman was originally placed in temporary charge for 15 days last month, to oversee matches against Oman.

However, he has now been retained for three months more, as the Emirates Cricket Board’s search for a full-time successor for Aaqib Javed continues.

By the time Shah’s latest short-term tenure ends, it will have been nine months since Aaqib ended a largely successful four-year term, in order to return to his native Pakistan.

There are no competitive international engagements confirmed between now and January for the national team. There are fixtures planned against Pakistan A and the England Lions, though.

The uncertainty has done little to arrest the UAE’s alarming slump in form, which extends back to the start of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February 2015.

They are currently winless and in last place in the four-day Intercontinental Cup, and have managed just one win in the 50-over World Cricket League Championship.

With business interests outside of cricket, Shah had not coveted the job, hoping instead to assist in a batting consultancy role when time permitted.

His introduction to the team was initially via that means, as he assisted Paul Franks, another former England player, during his stint in temporary charge in the summer tour of the UK.

Neither was Shah thought to be in the board’s thoughts for the full-time position, as they sought a more experienced replacement for Aaqib.

However, the national team’s players have been impressed by his knowledge and ideas during his time at the helm.

“We are very pleased to confirm that Owais will continue working as interim head coach for a three-month period,” David East, the Emirates Cricket Board chief executive, said.

“In a short time Owais has developed a strong rapport with the players and Emirates Cricket support staff.

“We expect to see gains, both in development and on the scoreboard, from his involvement as we enter a very busy playing schedule.”

pradley@thenational.ae​

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