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Cricket Australia can’t tell people how to live: King

Published: Friday, August 22, 2003, 18:23 [IST]
 
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Cricket Australia can’t tell people how to live: King

Thatscricket.com took this opportunity to interview Mr King who was kind enough to spare some time for an in depth interview.

Following are some of the excerpts:

What prompted you to come out with this clinic for women cricketers?

The Australia-India Cricket Council asked me if I would be interested in trying to get the relationship of women"s cricket in Indian going – try to make it stronger. Also build a stronger relationship between Australia and India and their cricket as well, which we are doing with the men.

But, I guess, I take the point of view that we need to deal with cricketers and fortunately women are involved with that. So it is important for us that we don"t miss any cricketers at all.

Ultimately the Border-Gavaskar Scholarship is something that evolved from the Australia-India Council. And, I guess, in the near future we would like to see something like that happen with three to four women cricketers coming to Australia and we do coach them like we do with the men.

Do you think that is a real possibility?

I would like to think so. I really do. And the signs that I have seen from the department in Australia are that they are very keen to move this part of the development forward.

What is your assessment of the girls you dealt with over here at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket?

Well, I only dealt with 20 or 30. Their energy levels, their thirst for knowledge, even their skill levels are all up there. And it is really encouraging to see that there is a passion for cricket in the women of India as well.

Probably what is lacking is direction with coaching and direction with playing. My understanding is that the Indian women"s side is actually third or fourth ranked in the world. So you are not too far away with Australia and New Zealand who are ranked above you.

And with better training I suppose – technically and tactically – I don"t see any barriers for the women.

Is there any major difference between the men"s game and the women"s game?

The difference mainly, probably, lies with power and physic. Men can obviously hit the ball lot harder than the women. The beauty of the women side of it is that, as a coach, they are very coachable.

They usually haven"t had the same levels of playing as a junior. So their education levels (cricket) are probably lower when you first get contact with them. Whereas with men if you first contact the male when they are 17 or 18 they"ve usually had about 10 years of training anyway where they have developed their skills somewhat.

With the women it is a lot younger. Even though they may be 17 or 18 their development levels are a lot younger. And as a result they haven"t set forms so you can change people and actually get better players really quite quickly.

Given that there is a lot pace involved with the men; especially the bowling, do you think the same batting techniques will apply for both men and women?

Yeah they will. The basics, I think, for the sport will remain the same.

You really need to have good balance, good body alignment and sequential stability when you are performing – either fielding, bowling or batting. So I think those processes will remain the same.

How much of a help was it for your boys to have played the MRF tourney?

It was a really big help. In hindsight, if we would"ve come out a week earlier and managed to play a couple of games before the tournament I think it would have aided us because the development of the boys after the first two games had shown me that they learnt very quickly and can adapt to conditions.

The nature of this tournament was that we came, we had a day and then we played. We, probably did not adapt as well to the conditions early enough. We just needed a bit more time I felt.

Do you see yourself coaching a national side at some stage or are you going to stick to just the academy?

I guess, if opportunities arise and that is something you just don"t know in sports. If opportunities arise and I feel I am in a situation where I can be of assistance or be of benefit then, yeah, I may.

You were recently offered coaching of the West Indies cricket team and apparently family concerns made you turn down the offer. So if you get an overseas offer again are you keen to take it up or it has to be in Australia?

No. I am open for offers from outside also.

At the moment the family concerns were one aspect. There were, probably, five or six others I did not make public and I"m not going to make public.

But the West Indies job would have been a good time for me to, probably, develop my coaching but because of some other factors it just didn"t work out.

I"ve got a passion for my own country Australia as well. If that job did arise in the future then, I guess, at this stage I will settle if they are interested. But in a year or two I may think differently. But I"m not too sure, that remains to be seen.

Do you also train women cricketers back in the academy or is it only for the men?

No, we"ve had women cricketers come in. I think over the years it has been spasmodic but I"ve been trying to encourage the involvement of women within the programme.

It is not a point where there are scholarships but I think in the near future that will develop and they would be scholarship holders just like the men. Funding is always an issue with some of those issues.

But ultimately I think we have been opening our door to all cricketers and the more we do the better it is for cricket in general.

I have also got to hear that you all have been training cricketers to be ambidextrous – throw with both hands, probably bowl with both hands and maybe even bat. What is this all about?

Well, I guess, the batting and bowling side of doing things ambidextrous would take such an amount of time because to be very good to play Test cricket you need to be good (at a Test level) just the one side of it, and the amount of time it takes to develop that is enormous.

Whether it could ever be done both hands batting and bowling at an elite level is probably yet to be determined. I wouldn"t say no it will never happen but certainly that development needs to start when the player is probably 8 to ten years old. So then we can carry it throughout their career. But there is no certainty that those people will make it anyway.

Are you all working in that direction or is it just a thought?

It interests us. So we"ve dabbled in it, definitely. But we haven"t carried it through simply because the amount of time it takes to develop just one side is enormous enough (right-hander or left-hander) and so to develop two the time restraints could be the thing that restricts us rather than…the thought that people cannot do it.

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