DUBAI -OCTOBER 13,2008 -  Mudassar Nazar joins the elite coach for the ICC Global Cricket Academy gestures during press briefing held Dubai Sports city. ( Paulo Vecina/The National )
Mudassar Nazar, a former Pakistan Test star, has been named as a new coach at Dubai Sports City.

Pakistan's Nazar joins the ICC



DUBAI // Pakistan cricket's strong association with the UAE was cemented further today when their former Test star Mudassar Nazar was named as one of the new coaches-in-residence at Dubai Sports City (DSC). Nazar, who played for Pakistan in the first ever one-day international to be staged in Sharjah 24 years ago, will relocate to Dubai next February. He will end his term as the director of game development for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to become one of the two new head coaches at the ICC Global Cricket Academy (GCA).

Dayle Hadlee, the fast-bowling coach for New Zealand, will also be joining the coaching team, with both new appointees answering to the director, Rod Marsh. The capture of two more of the game's best qualified academy coaches further demonstrates the remarkable pulling power of the nascent desert development. Nazar, the 52-year-old former all-rounder, said: "Any cricketer's career is a progression. This institution is the most excellent in the world, so it wasn't a hard decision to come.

"A lot of my early cricket was spent in UAE, in Sharjah. I played in the very first one-dayer that was played here [an unofficial ODI for Pakistan versus India in 1984]. Prior to that, in 1975, I came here with Pakistan International Airlines and played on a cement wicket, and Abdul Rahman Bukhatir [who is now an executive board member of DSC] was involved then. "I've seen cricket here suffer at times, because of a lack of facilities. This is why these are exciting times for UAE cricket, with these top-class facilities. I'm sure cricket will improve in this region."

Nazar is not the only Pakistani cricketer to regard the UAE as a home from home. Waqar Younis, the great fast-bowler, and the current opening batsman, Salman Butt, were both schooled in Sharjah. Indeed, it seems likely that Pakistan cricket soon may decamp to the Emirates en masse. It was widely reported earlier this month that the PCB had signed a three-year agreement to play its home one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches at DSC.

The move was designed to appease sides who were reluctant to tour Pakistan because of concerns over terrorist attacks. However, Marc Archer, the GCA's general manager, today suggested that declaration had been somewhat premature. "At this stage we can't make an announcement," said Archer. "With the stadium coming on line next year, we are talking to full member countries about coming and playing games here.

"Until all the T's are crossed and the I's dotted we can't make an announcement." Matthew Kennedy, the ICC's global development manager, says the two latest coaching recruits will be crucial as the GCA attempts to finally set its ambitious development plans in motion. "The annual plan for 2009 and 2010 will start to fill out when we get some staff on board," said Kennedy. "The key thing is not just having these three big names with their hands-on experience in academies round the world, but their planning a development experience.

"Dayle set up the high performance centre in New Zealand; Mudasser has huge experience developing new programmes in Pakistan; Rod set up the England academy from scratch as well. "That will be very important for our initial programming in the opening years." Marsh added: "Dayle and Mudassar are two of the best academy coaches in the world. "I can't wait to start working with them in order to develop programmes that will improve cricket globally.

"We will have a great balance of coaching skills to offer every cricketer who comes to Dubai Sports City." pradley@thenational.ae

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Notable salonnières of the Middle East through history

Al Khasan (Okaz, Saudi Arabia)

Tamadir bint Amr Al Harith, known simply as Al Khasan, was a poet from Najd famed for elegies, earning great renown for the eulogy of her brothers Mu’awiyah and Sakhr, both killed in tribal wars. Although not a salonnière, this prestigious 7th century poet fostered a culture of literary criticism and could be found standing in the souq of Okaz and reciting her poetry, publicly pronouncing her views and inviting others to join in the debate on scholarship. She later converted to Islam.

Maryana Marrash (Aleppo)

A poet and writer, Marrash helped revive the tradition of the salon and was an active part of the Nadha movement, or Arab Renaissance. Born to an established family in Aleppo in Ottoman Syria in 1848, Marrash was educated at missionary schools in Aleppo and Beirut at a time when many women did not receive an education. After touring Europe, she began to host salons where writers played chess and cards, competed in the art of poetry, and discussed literature and politics. An accomplished singer and canon player, music and dancing were a part of these evenings.

Princess Nazil Fadil (Cairo)

Princess Nazil Fadil gathered religious, literary and political elite together at her Cairo palace, although she stopped short of inviting women. The princess, a niece of Khedive Ismail, believed that Egypt’s situation could only be solved through education and she donated her own property to help fund the first modern Egyptian University in Cairo.

Mayy Ziyadah (Cairo)

Ziyadah was the first to entertain both men and women at her Cairo salon, founded in 1913. The writer, poet, public speaker and critic, her writing explored language, religious identity, language, nationalism and hierarchy. Born in Nazareth, Palestine, to a Lebanese father and Palestinian mother, her salon was open to different social classes and earned comparisons with souq of where Al Khansa herself once recited.

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