x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Success written all over Aaqib Javed's resume

If he can help the UAE cricketers to dream as well, and dream big, then a second World Cup appearance for the country may become a reality.

Aaqib Javed has been sounded out for the UAE coach's job.
Aaqib Javed has been sounded out for the UAE coach's job.

The possibility of Aaqib Javed taking over the reins of the UAE cricket team is an exciting prospect.

An apprentice of the great Imran Khan and a contemporary of the two legendary "W's" - Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis - Javed boasts an impressive coaching record.

He has worked at almost every level in the Pakistan set-up, guiding their Under 15 team to the Asian Championship in 2002 and then winning the Under 19 World Cup in 2004.

He honed the skills of players such as Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Amir, Yasir Arafat and Umar Gul as the fast bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy, and he was later named as the head coach of Pakistan's premier cricketing institute.

He has worked with the Pakistan "A" and national teams, and was a front-runner to take over the national team after Bob Woolmer and then Waqar last year.

Javed also has a wealth of international experience as a player, being a part of probably one of the most formidable Pakistan teams.

He was a member of Imran's 1992 World Cup-winning side in which he played an influential role. Fans would still remember the slower ball that got rid of New Zealand's Mark Greatbatch in the semi-finals. It showed his ability to innovate and he would be able to bring that crucial attribute to the UAE.

Javed did not play many Test matches - only 22 - calling time on his international career early because of the murky happenings around Pakistan cricket at that time and all the whispers of match-fixing.

He wanted to be remembered as a "clean cricketer" so he ended his involvement with the team in 1998 at the age of 28.

He also played 163 one-day internationals, taking 182 wickets with his best performances usually reserved for India and their batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. That showed his mental strength and if such an important attribute can be passed on to the amateur cricketers of the UAE, it could improve the team's fortunes.

Javed also exuded great self-confidence, holding his own in a team that boasted the Sultan of Swings, Akram and Younis. That quality, again, would be of benefit for the UAE.

"You've got to have clarity of vision and focus well on where you want to be and what you want to achieve," Javed once said when asked about his coaching mantra. "I tell them [his wards] they need to visualise and see the 'pathway' to success.

"I tell them to daydream about making it to the top and then work relentlessly towards achieving their dream."

If he can help the UAE cricketers to dream as well, and dream big, then a second World Cup appearance for the country may become a reality.

Javed is a coach who can guide and inspire players through that journey.

To many of the current crop of UAE cricketers, he must be a source of inspiration with his exploits against India in Sharjah, most notably the seven for 37 that he took in 1992.

Those figures, which stood as the best in a one-day international (ODI) for a long time, included a hat-trick and he remains the youngest cricketer to take an ODI hat-trick.

Should Javed be appointed he will also help the UAE in an area where they have traditionally suffered: the lack of fast-bowling options.

Looking at the men he has guided during his coaching career, he will almost certainly turn things around in that section.

Hence, the Emirates Cricket Board should be commended for approaching the Pakistani.

He still has a contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board, but if Javed does accept, he could be the man to help drag UAE cricket out of its perpetual state of flux.

arizvi@thenational.ae