'Nobody gives you accolades for second best' - new Emirates director of cricket Robin Singh wants to find winners

ECB say new appointment will oversee 'a new direction' for the game

Indian fielding coach Robin Singh and Indian off spinner Harbhajan Singh in converse as rain delays the start of play between India and Scotland during the Twenty20 cricket match between India and Scotland in the Twenty20 Cricket World Championship at the Kingsmead stadium in Durban, 13 September 2007. AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL (Photo by RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP)
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Robin Singh says he wants to create a winning culture for the game in this country after being unveiled as the “new face” of UAE cricket.

The former India all-rounder was on Wednesday confirmed as the director of cricket by the Emirates Cricket Board [ECB].

He is understood to have been approached about the role during the Abu Dhabi T10 last November, when he was coach of the defending champions Northern Warriors.

Dougie Brown, the incumbent UAE coach, led the troubled national team in both the subsequent series, against Scotland and United States at home in December, and Oman and Namibia and Muscat last month.

On return from Oman, though, Brown found out he was set to be replaced by Singh.

He was subsequently sacked with four months remaining on his employment contract.

According to the ECB, Singh will start his new role, overseeing “a new direction” for the game here, with immediate effect.

However, he is set to retain his job on the coaching staff of the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

As such, he will miss the next assignment for the national team, which is a Cricket World Cup League Two triangular series involving United States and Scotland in Florida in April.

Singh said he wants playing for the UAE to be the dream for all players based in this country, and to create a winning mindset.

“Of course, it is everyone’s dream to play for their respective country where they were born,” Singh said. “What we need to embrace, and this is one culture I need to bring into people’s minds, is we need to bring in a winning culture.

“I don’t believe we should play a sport where we should lose or compete. That is not my forte. There is no second best in playing a sport. Nobody gives you accolades for second best.

“At the end of the day, the culture is to think and respect the fact we are living in this country.

"You need to think that this is your country. That is what I want people to understand. We need to change the mindset, the approach, and the way people think.”

Brown was unavailable for comment on Wednesday. He is believed to be considering a legal case because of the way his dismissal has been handled.

The former Scotland and England international is likely to be coveted elsewhere, after winning much praise for the job he has done during three years at the helm of UAE cricket.

After his appointment in 2017, the national team first arrested a slump in results.  They then re-established their status as a full one-day international side, which secured a tranche of ICC funding.

Although they missed out on qualifying for the 2019 World Cup, the national team did secure a first ever win over a Test-playing nation when they beat Zimbabwe in 2018.

The past six months for the game here have been beset by a corruption scandal.

Five senior players, including the captain Mohammed Naveed, are banned as part of an ICC anti-corruption investigation. The national selection panel has also been disbanded.

Again, Brown won many plaudits for the way he marshalled a wholly new-look side, which included university students and a schoolboy, in the series following the controversy.

So far in the CWCL2, they have won three matches of the six they have played.

According to Mubashir Usmani, the ECB’s general secretary, the time was right for a change.

“As an Emirates Cricket Board, we were thinking of having a new direction, new thoughts, a new face,” Usmani said.

“That was just the reason. Robin is not only a head coach. He is going to look after all the age groups. He was fitting the criteria we were looking to for our long road back.

“We are really thankful to Dougie what he has provided ECB, the support he has given, the service he has given in developing the men’s team of UAE.

“We wish him best of luck for is future endeavours. Definitely, Dougie has played a pivotal role in developing UAE cricket.”

On the same day, the ECB also unveiled a new main sponsor.

Parvez Khan, owner of Pacific Ventures, said the appointment of Singh as the new coach will help cricket in the country.

“When we won the T10 trophy with Maratha Arabians after three years, I thought, ‘What next? I have achieved this, so what is next?’,” Parvez said.

“Mubashir and I were talking, and he said, ‘Let’s do this. Come to Emirates Cricket Board as a sponsor’. He knows that I can’t only become a sponsor and not get involved in things.

“I love cricket, it is my passion. I want to see UAE cricket do well, and I know with Robin coming on board it will help a lot.”