UAE’s Rameez Shahzad wants to pursue a coaching career once he retires from cricket after completing a course in England.
The batsman attained the ECB’s Level 2 coaching qualification after attending the course in the summer where he played club cricket for Philadelphia in the Durham Cricket League.
Having passed the required tests, Shahzad is keen to complete the Level 3 course in the future and pass on his experience in a coaching capacity when he finally lays down the bat.
“Once I have finished with cricket, I’ve decided that I want to do coaching,” the 30-year-old said. “That is why I wanted to do this course and hopefully next year I can return and do my Level 3 course.”
Shahzad’s father Altaf, a member of the UAE team that featured at the 1996 World Cup, is now coaching youngsters in the country.
And Shahzad is keen to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“My father coaches at his academy and would love to help him. At the same time, I also want to be part of a top coaching team with professional set-up. It’s something I want to aim for.”
Shahzad managed to complete the course in between matches for Philadelphia. He said it was an eye-opener on what was needed when it came to coaching.
“The course was really good because it taught you the basics but I know it will be harder to get the Level 3 qualification,” he added.
“I had to attend four or five days and then work with youngsters for two months before returning to complete the tests. It was really exciting to do this.”
UAE head coach Dougie Brown wants his players to focus on reaching the Asia Cup before they even think about the prospect of facing India or Pakistan.
The 15-man squad will fly out to Malaysia in the early hours of Sunday morning as they look to seal the only qualification berth for next month’s main event in the UAE.
Malaysia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Oman, and Singapore all stand in their way when the 50-over tournament begins from August 29. Whoever prevails in the final on September 6 can look forward to testing themselves against India and Pakistan in the group stage in Dubai.
Considering the tournament will be staged in the UAE, Brown says his team are fully aware it’s an opportunity to play in front of their home fans but warned they have to earn the right to mix with Asia’s elite.
“There are a number of very good teams in this qualifying tournament in Malaysia,” said Brown. “We know some of them and there are teams that we don’t know much about. We have done our homework and got an understanding of how they play their cricket.
Two very short weeks until #UAE #Cricket Men land in #KualaLumpur for the #ACC Asia Cup Qualifiers 2018.— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) August 13, 2018
& our lads have been putting in some rather serious work on their fitness in the lead up.@ICCAcademy @ANIBDXB @tykasports @Phizz #GoUAE #LetsDoThis! pic.twitter.com/cSoaBzyXUo
“While the players can dream about playing against India and Pakistan in Dubai – which would be everyone’s dream, we need to ensure we take stock of every situation that we intend in Malaysia. We cannot afford a slip-up there.
“We have to be playing the best cricket that we can. If we take our eye off, we’ll find it very difficult to qualify for the Asia Cup. We discussed the importance of every single game and ball we face. We want to keep them focused on what will be in front of them in Malaysia.”
With humid conditions expected in Malaysia, the squad have been sweating it outdoors during their training sessions at the ICC Academy over the last four weeks.
Brown said it was crucial that the players got used to training in a hot climate before they flew out.
“We know it’s going to be very hot and humid in Malaysia and given that, we have been outdoors as often as we could,” the 48-year-old added.
“We are in a very good state at the moment. The easy thing to do was to play indoors and we could have done that if we wanted to. But we know how important this tournament is and we don’t want to leave nothing to chance.
“It’s really important that they do acclimatise as we know there’s no escape from the weather.”
The pair were part of the Under-19 team that featured in the Asia Cup tournament last year and while it’s Bhatia’s first call-up to the senior side, Nawaz were part of the squad that played in April’s pre-Asian World Twenty20 qualifiers.
Abdul Shakoor, who last represented the national team in November 2015, has been recalled following impressive domestic displays.
Rohan Mustafa will captain the side in the 50-over tournament, which will take place between August 29 and September 6.
The UAE will compete against Malaysia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Oman and Singapore in their bid to secure their place in the 2018 Asia Cup, which will be played in the UAE in September.
Speaking on the squad selection, Waleed Bukhatir, Emirates Cricket Board member and chief selector said: “Securing our place to compete in the 2018 Asia Cup, which is being hosted on home-soil, is of the utmost importance. Our players and the coaching team have been exceptionally committed to their training throughout the summer, and we are confident they will put forward a winning performance and secure the remaining place in the Asia Cup.”
UAE squad: Rohan Mustafa (C), Ashfaq Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Rameez Shahzad, Muhammad Usman, Adnan Mufti, Shaiman Anwar, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Muhammad Naveed, Amir Hayat, Abdul Shakhoor, Rahul Bhatia, Fahad Nawaz and Zahoor Khan