Emirates Cricket Board holds no grudges against Wells

The ECB has set out the criteria for the new national team coach as it continues to search for a man to replace Colin Wells.

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SHARJAH // The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has set out the criteria for the new national team coach as it continues to search for a man to replace Colin Wells. On Wednesday, Wells, the former England all-rounder, announced he was leaving his national team role, which he started in January 2009, following a lucrative offer to coach at the British School Al Khubairat. The ECB is aiming to find someone who can build on the foundations he laid.

"We are eyeing the World Cup [in 2015] and there will be a replacement soon," said Waleed Bukhatir, Sharjah Cricket Council (SCC) chairman and ECB board member. "Colin Wells has played a huge role in the team's recent development. We are looking for someone who can take the team to the next level and who will improve on Colin's work during forthcoming qualifiers." Nassar Akram, former general secretary of the ECB and now an executive member of the SCC, added that the board expect to find a replacement within the coming weeks.

"The candidate will need to meet the board's expectations and be ready to fulfil our future tournament commitments," he said. "We've always had good coaches and our selections have proven to be quite fruitful. I'm sure we'll find a replacement soon and that they will be a nice fit for our team." Speaking from yesterday's launch of the 23rd annual Sharjah Ramadan Cup, a limited-overs tournament running from August 9 to September 8 at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, the pair insisted no one at the ECB begrudges Wells's decision leave the job.

"There are always reasons for any kind of movement [between jobs], it is simply the nature of the game and of life, too," said Akram, who along with Bukhatir and several SCC officials conducted the draw for the 16-team, 25-over competition yesterday. Perhaps the most intriguing match pulled out the hat will be between Group D rivals Eurocon Alubond, the defending champions, and Interface Transworld, the team representing the competition's headline sponsors.

"Our team concept is young and we have recruited two Indian spinners to freshen things up," said Nalin Khaitan, an Interface Transworld director who is also a member of the side's starting XI. "We have Jagrit Anand, a Delhi Under 22 team player who was hand-picked by [former Australia coach] John Buchanan to play for IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders, and Puneet Mehra is joining us for the second time - he's been highlighted as one of India's best fielders and emerging all-rounders. We'll be OK in the group."

Organisers said that a tournament schedule, covering all 31 matches, will be released tomorrow. emegson@thenational.ae