Former Pakistan international Kabir Khan is to be the next coach of the UAE, replacing former England international Colin Wells. “I have agreed to take over as UAE coach on a three-year deal and my target will be to help the team to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in 2012,” said Kabir Khan from his home in Peshawar. He joins UAE after the end of a successful spell with Afghanistan and it is the second time he takes charge in the Emirates, having been there for a short period in 2007, during which the UAE won ICC World Cricket League Division 2.

In his 22 months in charge of Afghanistan from October 2008 to August 2010 the team advanced from a bunch of amateurish big-hitters into a collection of match-savvy professionals, picking up ODI status, a place in this year’s World Twenty20 and most recently third in Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 1. His primary aim for the UAE is to have them qualify for the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 2012. UAE, World Cup participants in 1996, have been the Asian development region’s foremost senior team for much of the subsequent period but have recently seen themselves challenged strongly by Hong Kong and fall behind Afghanistan, sometimes just by a whisker but behind nevertheless.

“Kabir has done wonderfully well for Afghanistan,” says Emirates Cricket Board Administrator Mazhar Khan, the day after Kabir signed his contract, “we welcome him back. He’ll be based in Sharjah 24/7 working with the junior and senior players five to six days a week.”

A new and expanded global qualification system has been set up to give the ICC Associate and Affiliate Members a distinct pathway towards the ICC World Twenty20. And the qualification tournament, which previously involved six or eight teams, will be expanded to a 16-team tournament in early 2012 to give those sides the chance to represent their countries at the prestigious ICC World Twenty20 2012 in Sri Lanka.

The new qualifying tournament will have the six teams which currently enjoy ODI/T20I status (Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, Netherlands, Scotland), plus 10 qualifiers from regional Twenty20 events. At the last ACC T20 Cup Afghanistan beat UAE in the Final in Abu Dhabi.

"UAE has a lot of potential and the administration is also keen on improving the team, so I will do my best to help UAE regain their status at international level and there is enough talent to achieve that," says Kabir. He starts in the UAE next week. The team’s next assignment is a tour of Kenya to play four 50-over matches followed by the Intercontinental Shield Final against Namibia at home at the end of November.

UAE Cricket Profile
Kabir Khan: Advancing Afghanistan

Filed October 4th, 2010