Dubai. Former UAE national team coach Aaqib Javed, who is now the head coach of the Lahore Qalandars team, knows the condition and pitches in Dubai and Sharjah like the back of his hand.
When asked about his new role, Javed expressed his happiness over the UAE qualifying for the 2019 World Cup qualifiers by emerging as the champions of the ICC World Cricket League last week in Namibia.
“I am glad the UAE qualified for the World Cup qualifiers and I am really happy for them because I still consider the UAE as my team. It will be good fun here in my new role for Lahore because the UAE is like a second home for me.”
Javed admitted that his knowledge of the conditions here is an advantage. “I had a very good four and half years experience here with UAE team. I have been also visiting UAE regularly in the role of the coach of the Pakistan junior and national teams that has played so many games in Dubai and Sharjah stadiums. So definitely you cannot beat experience and that experience will help me immensely.”
Javed began as Lahore team director last year and took over as head coach when their coach Paddy Upton left the post. “Last year I joined Lahore but did not want to take this role right away mainly because this is franchise cricket and frankly I had no idea about it. I was working with national teams and that was entirely different from PSL type leagues. This has got an entirely different style of coaching and management so after gaining the experience last year and based on that experience I decided to come forward and take the responsibility. I am really excited now and because I know little bit of franchise cricket by now as to how it runs, how to motivate everyone, and bring on the table all the different players — the internationals as well as Pakistan players. In this you need to have a good blend and so far, so good.”
To a query as to what is needed to win here, Javed said: “From the performance point of view Lahore had two bad seasons in the PSL. In franchise cricket one has to to be on your toes all the time. It is not like a national team in which there will be favourites as well as top and low ranked teams. In franchise cricket all the teams are equal and I think the key to victory is all about rising at the right time.” Javed is excited about his team combination. “We have a very exciting team with Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine Brendon McCullum Mustafizur Rahman and many more and so we have very good options. It is a much better team and more prepared than from last year. So we will be a tough team to beat,” he said.