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04 March 2024

New UAE coach positive

Colin Wells will focus on the basics (SUPPLIED)

By Ahmad Lala

Colin Wells, the newly appointed UAE cricket coach, is upbeat about his side's chances of qualifying for the next World Cup in two years time.

The UAE, along with 12 other teams, will travel to South Africa to play in a qualification tournament in April, where they find themselves in a group with Afghanistan, Denmark, Kenya, Bermuda and the Netherlands.

"I am confident with the squad we have and given the past results, we should have a very good chance of qualifying," said the former Sussex and Derbyshire all-rounder, who has been working with the national team for two weeks now.

While Wells admits he doesn't have complete knowledge about the opposition, should the UAE overcome that and finish in the top two of their group, they will be guaranteed a place in the showpiece event.

Between then and now, there is still much to do for Wells and the UAE, though. The country will embark on a tour to Sri Lanka later this month, before returning to play in an eight-team tournament involving six county sides and another local one in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in March.

"Considering the time frame I will be concentrating on the essential basics like running between the wickets, fielding and creating cohesion between the players," said the 48-year-old, who is on a three-month contract.

"Our game plans are also important so that the team has a consensus on what we are trying to do at every given time during a match."

Should the UAE qualify for the World Cup to be held in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, then Wells believes the success of the team will help bring more locals into a game that is currently played in majority by expats from the sub-continent.

"By having a successful national squad it will hopefully raise the profile of UAE cricket and will bring a buzz to the game. More children will be encouraged to play as well.

"That links to having the facilities available to clubs and even more inter-school cricket, which I'm led to believe doesn't happen much here."

In any case, the coach, who played two ODIs for England in Sharjah in 1985, still believes that there is enough talent in the UAE squad for the team to grow in stature.

"I am working with a very talented team that is committed to improving the sport," said Wells,

"The average age of the players is still young and a considerable number of those have not yet qualified to play for the UAE, but in the next few years a lot of them will be available," he said.