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." email@example.com