RAJU IN THE RANKS WITH UAE

UAE with five spinners in their ODI squad, will benefit from Venkatapathi Raju’s top-flight coaching

ACC Development Officer Venkatapathi Raju teamed up with former England cricketers Paul Collingwood, Paul Franks and Chris Read, working alongside national coach Aqib Javed to take the UAE through the ICC Gatorade High Performance Program in November. "The coach and the support staff have done a great job so far for the UAE team on all aspects," says Raju.

The 16-day program focussed on the UAE’s fielding and conditioning and specialist bowling skills as Raju (spin), Collingwood (fielding), Franks (seam-bowling), and Read (wicket-keeping) boosted the input of the UAE’s coach, physiotherapist and trainer. The camp at the ICC Academy in Dubai took in six-hour days of intense activity, along with four target matches and the UAE squad were also given special lectures on nutrition, media training and anti – corruption. Raju reports that “emphasis was given on the fielding by Paul Collingwood and I can notice a vast difference in the teams’ attitude.”

Paul Franks, speaking on the Nottinghamshire CCC website said, “They’re an energetic bunch, at times they would let their emptions overwhelm some clear thinking, and I wanted to take the experience I had gained from being around finals and big championship matches and help them,” he said.

“I used it to explain to them what they can expect and help them to clarify their plans and help them prepare for what is an exciting time for UAE cricket. They’ll be playing in big games on some excellent pitches and they’ll be under pressure. They need to know what that pressure will look and feel like, and how to respond to it. They now have the plans, and the ability to think clearly, to perform at that level.”

The UAE’s training camp ended just before they took on New Zealand A in a List A 50-overs game and played four ODIs against Afghanistan.

Speaking to Sport360, Paul Collingwood (still playing county cricket) said “I think there’s plenty of talent in [the UAE squad]. The good thing about the associate teams is they have a lot of skill and it’s doing that skill under pressure which is the crucial thing. A lot of fielding is about attitude. In practice making the intensity and quality very high is something I’m trying to drive into the [UAE] players. There’s a few technical things I hope to improve but they are a raw side that have their own techniques and a lot of it works.”

Video:
Paul Collingwood impressed by 'talented' UAE squad

Related:
UAE Cricket Profile

Filed December 9th, 2014