x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wanted: new coach for national team

The Emirates Cricket Board launches hunt for a new national team coach after Colin Wells opts for a job with a school in Abu Dhabi.

The loss of Colin Wells as UAE coach has disappointed national team players.
The loss of Colin Wells as UAE coach has disappointed national team players.

ABU DHABI // The Emirates Cricket Board has launched a hunt for a new national team coach after Colin Wells decided to opt for a job with a school in Abu Dhabi after finishing his one-year contract. Wells, the former England all-rounder, took over the reins in January last year for a three-month period before accepting a one-year extension with the national team.

At that time, Wells had told The National he would like to remain "over a four or five-year period" and map out a development programme for cricket in the Emirates. However, he decided against renewing his contract with the ECB following a lucrative offer to coach at the British School Al Khubairat. "He has received a very good offer from a British school in Abu Dhabi," Dilawar Mani, the chief executive officer of the ECB, said. "It is an offer that gives employment not just to him but to his wife as well. So he is quite keen to take that on. "We obviously support that move and wish him well. He did a good job for us and I am sure he will do a good job at the school." The ECB has already started itshunt for a new coach as the board are planning a tour of Kenya and Zimbabwe for the national team before they play the Intercontinental Shield final in Dubai from November 25, against either Uganda or Namibia.

"We already have a couple of names on the list and in the UK at the moment, I am talking to some of the counties as well," Mani said. "We have people who are felicitating our search, along with the couple of CVs that we have already received. "So hopefully in the next week or 10 days, we will have somebody." Wells's last assignment with the national team was the tour of Bermuda earlier this month, where the UAE beat the hosts by nine wickets to seal their place in the Intercontinental Shield final and then completed a clean sweep with victories in the two 50-over games and two Twenty20s.

Under Wells, the UAE had earlier missed out on qualifying for the 2011 World Cup and the 2010 World T20. "We were really unfortunate to miss out on those two tournaments," Mohammed Lokhandwala, the manager of the national team, said. "Wells has done a really good job with the national team. He has worked hard and we wish him well." Saqib Ali, the UAE all-rounder who has worked under five different coaches in more than four years in the UAE national team, felt Wells's positive feature was his ability to motivate the players.

"He made us believe we can win every game," Saqib said. "But it's not surprising that he has decided to move on as in the cases of previous coaches. As a player, I would like to have a longer association with any coach, and now with a new coach we need to start again from scratch." Arshad Ali, 34, the veteran opener, who stroked 126 to lead the UAE to a thumping nine-wicket win over Bermuda in the ICC Intercontinental Shield, was surprised by Wells's departure. "We look up at the coach as the head of the family and at a time when we were getting along well, he decides to leave, which is pretty sad," Arshad said. "Such incidents have kept on happening and that hinders the team's progress." sports@thenational.ae