Aaqib Javed to focus on 'two-point agenda' for UAE cricket

The coach has a plan to set up the domestic structure in the country apart from grooming the national team. Sports round-up audio

Aaqib Javed wants to lead by example on fitness.
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Aaqib Javed, the new UAE coach, said yesterday he has far-reaching plans for what he called the "challenging" task of improving the level of cricket here over the next three to four years.

"My contribution is not only to the national team, but I have certain plans to work towards improving the entire domestic structure and work with all stakeholders towards it," Aaqib said.

The coach was detailing his plans between his first and second assignments with the expatriate-heavy national team, currently in the midst of the World Cricket League (WCL) championship that can ensure qualification to the 2015 World Cup.

Wednesday proved a winning start for Aaqib when the UAE defended a low score to beat Scotland by four wickets but not before surviving a top-order collapse. They play Scotland again today for their sixth game in the eight-team league.

Aaqib was not worrying too much, though, about the Twenty20 mindset of his new charges.

"That is understandable. They are not professionals and don't have enough time to train," he said. "I have a fair idea of their mentality and ability and it helps that they are mostly Asians in the side.

"When I come back in April, we have three months until July [the end of the WCL event] to work hard towards our goals," Aaqib said.

The former Pakistan assistant coach acknowledged that he did not get time to spend with the players after arriving a day before the Scotland game which he watched more as an observer.

"There was not much I could do because they have a system set in place. But I could see that fitness is a big issue."

The 39-year-old Aaqib said he decided to set an example by proving his fitness to show the team of part-timers a way to work around problems of time management.

"Between the innings break, I ran for more than half an hour on the ground. If an old man like me can do it, why can't they?

"I will sit and customise fitness schedules with each individual. Even if they train for three days a week for an hour or so, it is enough for a start."

On the road ahead, Aaqib believes his experience in the domestic structure in Pakistan will hold him in good stead to give shape his plans.

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"I have a two-point agenda to start with here in UAE. Along with working with the national team, my task is to contribute to the domestic set-up here.

"I have come up the ranks in Pakistan, worked with the Under 15 team and then moved on to the Under 19 boys who won the [U19] World Cup in 2004 [in Dhaka]. I was instrumental in 2003 in setting up the domestic cricket set-up, that we have currently, and also in the creation of the National Cricket Academy.

"I have some plans and I hope I can get the support of the board, the sponsors, the media, all the stakeholders ... It is not just about me.

"It is just a thought but we should have at least three to four domestic teams fighting it out. It could be on the lines of teams from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, etc. I plan to make a significant contribution over the next three to four years but, as I said, it is not just me. I will need all the support."

Meanwhile, the all-rounder Arshad Ali termed today's game as a "crucial" one. "The Scotland players struggled against spin which is to our advantage at home.

"It is important that we win this one because the next assignment is in Rotterdam where the advantage will be with the Netherlands."