Former Sussex and Derbyshire allrounder Colin Wells will coach the United Arab Emirates at the World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa in April. Wells, who arrived in the UAE this week, played two one-day internationals for England in 1985. Ironically, both were in Sharjah.

Wells will oversee perhaps one of the most extensive preparations of any of the 12 teams which will be contesting the four World Cup places allocated to Associates. After a brief tour to Sri Lanka in early March, the UAE will join English counties, Essex, Middlesex, Lancashire, Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire as well as local team, Fly Emirates, in the 50-over Pro Arch series to be played in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah from March 17 to 24.

A squad of 45, who are currently training three to four hours a day three days a week, will be trimmed to 30 on February 1 and then the final 15 at the end of February, Emirates Cricket Board secretary, Mazhar Khan, said on Thursday.

Khan advised at this stage Wells' appointment is for the World Cup Qualifiers. "It may be extended depending on how they go," he said.