Dougie Brown will lead the Emirates Cricket team as the newly appointed head coach with high hopes for the future of Emirati cricket.
Waleed Bukhatir, Emirates Cricket Board Member and Chief Selector said, “After a very extensive process, the Board are very pleased to confirm that Dougie has been selected as Emirates Cricket’s Head Coach.
“Dougie’s influence with and impact on the players has been evident through their recent form and commitment, and we look forward to watching them continue this upward curve under his guidance.”
“It is a huge honour to be appointed head coach of the UAE Cricket National Team and I really look forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead as we look to build on the recent success the team has achieved.” stated Brown.
“We have had an outstanding 3 months and I continue to be impressed with both individual and team performances. I relish the opportunity to further develop the team culture and reinforce our style of play.”
Brown’s appointment commences Thursday, June 1 where his first official task will be to prepare the players for their upcoming ODIs against Netherlands in mid-July.
Heena Hotchandani and Kavisha Kumari delivered when it really mattered as Desert Cubs Cricket Academy were crowned champions of the UAE National Women’s Tournament after a 63-run victory against GM Academy.
The bowlers were lethal with the ball as vice-captain Hotchandani (4-13) and Kumari (3-14) claimed seven wickets as GM Academy were all out for 94 in their reply to chasing 158 in the 30-over match.
That total was largely thanks to Chamani Seneviratne, who top-scored with 47 runs from 36 deliveries, while there were valuable contributions from Kumari (25) and skipper Oza (27), who elected to bat first after winning the toss.
For GM, their batswomen struggled at the crease with only Subha Srinivasan (21), Aysha Noushad (15) and Chaya Mughal (14) reaching double figures at Sharjah English School.
The result capped a remarkable campaign for Desert Cubs, who won all seven of their matches in the three-team competition, which also included G-Force. And UAE international Oza had nothing but praise for her team-mates.
“Winning any tournament is a great feeling, but winning all of our matches and staying unbeaten throughout is something very special, especially at such a big stage in women’s domestic cricket,” said Oza, who finished as the top run-scorer with 228.
“The thing that impressed me the most was that we played as a team and whoever got an opportunity to play did justice to their role in the team.”
The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) will now identify the best pool of players for a summer training camp ahead of the UAE’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers later this year.
Hoping their efforts are recognised are Priyanjali Jain (212) and Srinivasan (178), who impressed with the bat.
Srinivasan also showed why she claimed the MVP after the all-rounder topped the bowling charts with nine wickets, ahead of Kumari (8) and Hotchandani (7).
Humaira Tasneem, who skippered GM Academy, insists the tournament was a great learning curve. “There were three strong teams competing and every team played at least six matches which gave us good exposure and match practice,” she said.
“It was exciting for our team to qualify as we have a wide cross section of ages, and through each game our confidence grew and we have seen definite improvement.
“We were exposed to three different pitches and learnt how to adapt and make the best of the pitches.”
Emirati cricketers Obaid and Omar have spoken of their aspirations of their love for the game and wanting to follow in the footsteps of their father Mohammed Tauqir by representing the UAE national team one day.
Obaid, 13, and Omar, 8, have been enhancing their knowledge and skills at Desert Cubs Cricket Academy for six months now under the guidance of head coach Presley Polonowita, a former Sri Lankan cricketer himself.
Mohammed donned the national jersey for more than decade and captained the UAE team in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. And having seen their father rub shoulders with the world’s elite on television, both Obaid and Omar want to create memories of their own.
“I love playing cricket,” said Obaid, a fast-bowling all-rounder.
“I’ve been playing since I was four years old. My grandfather took me to the park and we started playing. I started enjoying cricket because it was a family thing. Now I want to be like my dad, and captain the UAE team one day and make my breakthrough in the Under-19 teams.
“There is an athletics coach at Desert Cubs who helps with fitness which is a key part of cricket.”
His younger sibling, Omar, has too taken a lot of interest in cricket and while there’s still a lot of time for him to develop, at just eight-years-old, it’s a sport that he simply adores. “The best thing I like about cricket is hitting the ball. It’s something I love and it feels nice,” he said.
Mohammed has already seen signs of improvement from both his sons and is confident they will continue to excel.
“I’m really happy with the whole set up at Desert Cubs,” said the 45-year-old spinner, who is a national selector for the ECB.
“It has been very helpful in the shaping up of my children. They have improved their cricket and their overall fitness.
“I would love to see my children represent UAE. At the same time it has to be their commitment also. It will also be good if other Emirati youngsters also take up the game.”
Their sister Ayesha, who is pursuing athletics at Desert Cubs, also believes her brothers can reach their goal. “They can do it and have talent, if they work hard and concentrate on fitness.”
Polonowita hopes this can now be the start of more Emirati children taking up the sport.
“If we think of the future of cricket in the UAE, it has to be through locals. That’s why through Desert Cubs I’m trying to encourage UAE nationals to come here and get trained and represent their own country,” he said.