Dubai: Khurram Khan, the backbone of the UAE team during his career spanning over two decades and who guided the team into the 2015 World Cup, will be the assistant coach to renowned Stephen Fleming at Delhi Bulls.
Former UAE captain Khurram, an embodiment of determination and fitness after having played international cricket until the age of 44, will combine with the former New Zealand captain Fleming, who is considered one of the shrewdest brains of the game. The Delhi Bulls team management feels that this combination will boost their team’s chances to lift the Abu Dhabi T10 title this season.
Speaking to Gulf News after taking charge as assistant coach, Khurram said: “It will be a great experience to assist a seasoned coach like Fleming, who has coached top teams, especially in the Indian Premier League. I would consider it as a wonderful opportunity. I am also happy that I will be working with Eoin Morgan, with whom I have played against in many matches and players from Associate countries like Paul Stirling. I am happy that UAE’s two outstanding players in Muhammed Usman and Waheed Ahmed are in the team.”
Khurram, who is also the UAE national team selector, has been devoting time to coach youngsters while working for Emirates, added: “When I got the call from Anis Sajan (Delhi Bulls team mentor), I immediately checked my work schedule to make sure there is no clash and so that I can team up with Fleming. He has achieved so much as a cricketer and now coach, and I am sure this opportunity will help me contribute more to this game that I love so much”.
Bulls have focused on getting UAE’s two most consistent performers from the just concluded ICC Men’s T20 World Cup qualifiers. Commenting on giving UAE its importance in the team, Sajan said: “Usman had hit an unbeaten 89 against Canada in Abu Dhabi while Waheed delivered all-round performances through out the tournament. “Usman didn’t get a chance to play the first few games last year but when he came in, he immediately performed with the bat. It was all down to his confidence. He really impressed me. So while other franchises were retaining big international stars, we saw value in retaining Usman.”
Sajan revealed that it was Khurram, who insisted on picking Waheed Ahmed: “Khurram insisted we pick Waheed so I have to give him the credit for it. Waheed played well in the World T20 Qualifiers, so I hope he brings that form to T10.”
Sajan had, in the past too, encouraged local cricketers by employing over 30 players only to play for his team Danube Lions. Bulls will commence their campaign taking on Shane Watson-led Deccan Gladiators in the first game on November 15.