UAE head coach Dougie Brown has told his players to treat every match of their World Cricket League Division Two as a “final”, saying there’s no room for error if they want to advance to next month’s 2019 World Cup Qualifiers.
The UAE open their campaign against Kenya at the Namibian capital of Windhoek on Thursday as they bid to seal one of the two spots and join the likes of West Indies, Afghanistan and Ireland in the final qualifying round in Zimbabwe.
Canada, Nepal, Namibia and Kenya all stand in the UAE’s way over the next 10 days and Brown insists his players need to hit the ground running if they want to achieve their goal.
“That’s exactly what we’re going to do (treat each game as a final),” said Brown. “We know we can’t afford to slip up in a half an hour period or getting a couple of overs wrong.
“Every game will be of intense pressure and we have to play each game as if it’s a final. That’s what we as a coaching team is trying to make the players understand when we were here in Pretoria. Every single ball is an important one and it’s the same in fielding. The game can instantly change within a blink of an eye.
“We’re getting up to that where every ball is equally important and we can’t afford to have eight players focused and three are not – it has to be done as a team. We know if we can get that right, we can be a handful for anyone as some players are playing some really good cricket. We go into the tournament confident but we are only as good as our attitude.”
.@dougie1brown is a man of many #sporting talents!#UAE #Cricket @ICC #WCL Division 2 preparation camp #Pretoria #SouthAfrica @Sport360 @NatSportUAE @GulfNewsSport @DubaiEyeSport @ANIBDXB @tykasports @ICCAcademy pic.twitter.com/vXQWiRY0Ba
— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) February 1, 2018
The UAE go into the tournament on the back of a morale-boosting victory over Scotland in the home tri-series which involved Ireland, as well as a series of practice matches against Afghanistan.
Among those to impress is No.4 batsman Rameez Shahzad, who struck two fifties and a century, while Shaiman Anwar scored a ton against Afghanistan.
Brown is pleased his batsmen are beginning to click at a crucial period but stressed it’s important they continue to put in consistent performances in Namibia.
“We know our batters are performing well. What we need to do is how to play a tournament because it’s different to a one-off game where you can have a good performance,” said the 48-year-old.
“We’re trying to adapt the players to playing tournament cricket. What we are keen to show is that we can play a different game and we have players who can play exceptionally well. This will be a huge challenge. If we play the tournament well, it fits up nicely for Zimbabwe. If we don’t do it well, then we don’t know what exactly will happen. We don’t want to be playing Division Two or Division Three cricket. It’s incredibly important for all of us to get this tournament spot on. Everything I’ve seen shows that we’re tracking on really well.”
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