After three years at the helm and having shepherded the squad through a time of extreme tumult, Dougie Brown has been sacked as coach of the UAE men’s team, replaced by former Indian cricketer Robin Singh who comes in as Director of Cricket, it was announced by the Emirates Cricket Board on Thursday.
Brown, a former Scotland and England player, had previously been Director of Cricket at County club Warwickshire before relocating to the Gulf full-time in January 2017.
His replacement has various coaching roles across franchise leagues including the IPL, CPL and T10 which could play havoc with the UAE schedule, which includes the CWC League 2, Asia Cup pathways events and qualifying for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
In the immediate term, it means the former Indian all-rounder will miss the side’s next big assignment, CWC League 2 in the USA in April, due to his commitments with the Mumbai Indians.
According to Paul Radley in The National, there will be a “handover period”, but it it not known whether this will extend to Brown continuing the role across the tour to Florida.
The Singh appointment coincided with the announcement of a new major sponsor for the UAE team, a Dubai real estate company whose Chairman, according to his Twitter bio, not only has an involvement with the shuttered MS Dhoni academy, but also co-owns the Maratha Arabians in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
The decision to sack a coach at a time when such a positive culture has emerged within the young squad under skipper Ahmed Raza and coach Brown, rising from the fixing scandal that rocked the squad in October, has risen many an eyebrow. Many netizens have began campaigning for Nepal, currently coach-less, to pursue Brown’s services.
It would appear quite a risky move for an Associate nation, even as well endowed with access to high quality facilities as UAE is, to replace their coach with someone – even as well credentialed as Singh – who will not be in the role full-time, or at least for the foreseeable future.
The decision marks the third major staff change in under 18 months alongside CEO David East who exited in October 2018 after six years in the role and was replaced by Mubashir Usmani who is general secretary, and Will Kitchen who left his dual ICC Academy GM / ECB High Performance Manager role in June last year.
Time will only tell as to whether Singh’s experience, which includes stints with the Hong Kong and USA national sides, can be translated into success for the UAE.