Monday, June 19, 2006

Harper to Meet Other Associate Coaches

Kenya coach Roger Harper is off to Scotland this week for a 2 day conference with the coaches of the other 5 top Associate countries. The meeting is part of the ICC's High Performance Program, and will be held in Glasgow on Wednesday and Thursday, 21 & 22 June. According to the ICC media release, the meeting will focus on topics including teamwork, sports science and other support services, fitness, skill development, match tactics, specialist coaching and match analysis.
Also attending will be Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore who will be able to draw on his experience both with Bangladesh, and World Cup winners Sri Lanka in 1996 to give advice.
Richard Done, the HP manager, explained the purpose of the gathering: "Although each of the countries and coaches have their own individual priorities, together they share a common goal which is the improvement of Associate cricket...
...Our belief is that by bringing the experience of these coaches together they can learn from each other's approaches and ensure they are well prepared for what lies ahead over the next nine months."

This is a very positive step by the ICC, and no doubt all the coaches present will benefit. It also paves the way for further cooperation between the six Associates. It is my view that currently, the six are not doing enough to support each other in terms of matches. Mostly, the only matches scheduled between the Associates are built around the Intercontinental Cup, and the odd one-off ODI. There is as yet little competition between them at U19 and A levels, and this is an area that could definitely be of great help to improving the standards of the senior teams. For example, an opportunity is I feel being missed for Kenya A to take on one of the A teams from Ireland, Scotland or Holland as part of their Denmark tour. All the above takes money and organisation, but if the ICC is really serious about spreading the game, they would be able to come to the party on this. It would also have been good to see not only the head coach, but an assistant from each of the countries included as well. Still, it is a positive step, and it will be interesting to see what comes of it.
There is good news in the release about youth development with a Winter training camp for the leading Associate players has penciled in for October and November before the World Cricket League Division One takes places in Kenya in the run-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup in March 2007.

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