The former India all-rounder eager to create talent pool, league structure

Former India all-rounder Robin Singh hopes to create a new pathway, a new direction after being appointed as head coach of the UAE cricket team.

The 56-year-old, who played one Test and 136 ODIs, will also hold the post of Director of Cricket, which means, he will also oversee junior cricket. Both the appointments were announced by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) on Wednesday.

Robin, known for his tight fielding and his batting lower down the order, replaces Dougie Brown, with the Scotland and England international having led the team admirably well over the past three years.

The ECB did not divulge the length of the contract but Robin, who was approached for the role during the Abu Dhabi T10 League last November, indicated he hopes to guide the UAE to the Cricket World Cup to be held in India in 2023.

Robin's main emphasis after taking up the role was for the players to feel that they had been given a great opportunity to represent the UAE.

"One of the things that I want to emphasis here it is very difficult to play for any country. A lot of the people who are playing here, they aspire to play for Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, England or Australia. But it is very important to embrace the fact that we are playing for the UAE. And once you are here, the opportunity is here, it is not in India, not in Pakistan. That is a very, very important factor that we need to get into people's heads. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to play for a country," felt Robin.

Robin has already done his homework on the team and pointed out a few things that he needs to work on.

"Right now, there are a few challenges that I've seen. We seem to be lacking in going beyond 200-220 scores. Maybe also look at a wicketkeeper. We have a young wicketkeeper who is a little bit inexperienced. So, that is one space we will see how we can fulfil. We have a good bowling attack, probably pick up on the fielding, for that matter, and see how we can qualify in the top two teams going forward. I have a strategy in mind but whether it will be in sync with the thinking of the players, that has to be syncronised and see how we can probably look at the 2023 World Cup," Robin explained.

Robin, who has been part of the coaching set-up of the Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians apart from coaching stints in the Abu Dhabi T10 League where he led the Kerala Kings and Northern Warriors to titles, will continue to play a part in the IPL this year but has relinquished his other commitments to focus on his new job.

His prime target will be on improving the fitness levels of the team as well as creating a pool of 30 players that can be up and running to do duty for the National team.

 "I've been looking at the Under-19 side, I've seen a few videos. I potentially see how you can take them forward. My focus is to get a group of about 30 guys in the mix. One of the challenges you face sometimes is availability. So, we need to create a pool that can challenge the guys in the XI. It is also important to try and see how we can get a league structure going here," elaborated Robin.