Saturday, August 23, 2008

Leaving England

I am writing from Oslo in Norway having spent three days sightseeing with Ann and our friends Ian and Carol Berry. Tomorrow we move on by train to Copenhagen.
If I was asked what the high point of the Oslo stay was it would be not having to watch the Olympic games in England!!!
There is no doubt the Great Britain sportsmen and women have done very well indeed given the expectation of the media there.
There has been all kinds of Aussie bashing going on and I am not sure why really. Perhaps it is because in recent Olympics Great Britain has underachieved and in some way Australia has over achieved.
If so that is over now because the huge sums of Lottery money being pumped into the preparation of athletes in Great Britain has closed the gap.
What saddens me is the fact that by 2012 the gap between Great Britain and Australia will have widened because of the 600 million pound being given to athletes to train and not need to work at a job.
I will say however that no amount of money can make the difference between winning and losing an Ashes series. So to my English friends I simply say keep your feet on the ground. Enjoy the Olympic result but do not confuse what money can buy with talent and desire!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Club Initiative

On the 14th of August I spent a couple of hours in the nets at Amersham Cricket Club with a group of enthusiastic young kids. I can't say I saw a future England spinner amongst the boys but I am sure Amersham will have plenty of players to call upon in the future.
Club President (or is it Chairman?) Phil Ketteringham organised my visit which concluded with our customary dinner at Amersham's (maybe England's) best Indian restaurant, beautifully named Spices and Herbs. I recommend a visit if you are in the area. The food is great and the service even better!!
Go getter Phil and his commitee has embarked an enterprising fund raiser for the club. They have invited the Tanzanian cricket team to play a match against the local team.
I am not sure how good either side is but I do know initiative should be rewarded so anybody reading this blog looking for a great day out on August 25th (Bank Holiday Monday) should head to Amersham. Phil plans for all styles of entertainment to ensure a good family day out.
The setting at Amersham Cricket Club is lovely...ideal for such a day. Check out their web site for more details.
Good luck. May the weather God's smile upon you.

Jordan Capel

A few weeks ago I talked about young Jordan Capel and the drama surrounding his impending heart operation. Well it as finally taken place and I am delighted to say the operation went well and as I write he is due to come out of intensive care.
I received a text from his father David with the good news. The other news in the text tells us all why cricket is such a great game. David told me that one of the first people to visit Jordan was none other than Monty Panasar. Monty of course plays for Jordan's beloved Northampton when not on International duty and his visit would no doubt have brought a smile to Jordan's face.
He is a couragous young man and all of the members of the leg spinner's union wish him well in the difficult months ahead

Monday, August 4, 2008

ECB/Brian Johnston Clinics

With only 24 hours rest between my Delhi assignment and the Loughborough Wrist spin Programme I can tell you the mild weather made life pretty easy. The first two days of the four day spin programme were devoted to finger spinners, batsmen and wicketkeepers. The finger spin was run by Jack Birkenshaw and he was supported by Peter Such and me. A net session each day was followed by a "scenario" session against the batsmen for around 50-60 overs.
Paul Johnson and David Houghton looked after the batsmen whilst Bruce French attended to the keepers needs.
Jack and Peter stayed on and supported me with the wrist spin which was great. Also there for the four days was Paul Lawrence from Somerset. Paul has come a long way as a coach since the days at Taunton when he would stand at the back of the net too shy to speak.
He now shows the ability to spot areas of concern and offer advice on how to improve those areas.
During the finger spinners camp, two leg spinners were in attendance. One was Jordon Capel the son of former England player David Capel. I especially mention Jordon because the reason he attended on the Monday and Tuesday was because he was to have a serious heart operation on the Thursday. A big thing for anyone let alone a 15 year old boy. When you think about the number of boys who make weak excuses to not attend some training sessions it say's something for Jordon's desire. When I tell you the operation was cancelled at the last minute due to lack of beds in Intensive Care I hope it gives you an idea of what he has been through. It starts again this coming week. Good luck cobber.
Back to the camp. It went well and I believe I saw the most talented 13 year old of all.
He has been bowling for less than a year and he has learned it all via You tube and Shane Warne's King of Spin DVD.
More on him later.
We will announce the two leggies to travel to Adelaide in October in the next two weeks.

Delhi Camp

Five very exhausting days in Delhi were rewarded by a lot of improvement by most of the boys. The squad was varied with 8-9 left arm orthodox spinners, 5-6 right arm off spinners and 10-12 right arm leg spinners. The numbers varied from day to day with a maximum of 24 on any one day. The difficult part of the equation was trying to balance the numbers in only two nets!
The boys were terrific as they spent a lot of time away from the nets bowling on the grass whilst awaiting a turf pitch opportunity.
I was assisted by Arun Khurana, Gokul Inder Dev, and Mahesh Sharma.
Arun was a great help in making sure communication was not a problem as well as working mostly with the left armers. It will not surprise you to know that every, yes every one of the left armers bowled between the umpire, approaching the crease at a serious angle. Spin was at a minimum. It set me a challenge as being a "new age" coach I believe good alignment is the secret to obtaining maximum spin. The boys and Arun needed to be convinced and it is my feeling that by the end of the week all found some belief as well as more spin. No doubt a problem will arise when they arrive back with their regular coaches. I am trusting Arun to be strong with his support of the alignment issue.
Gokul, a former leg spinner and aged in his upper 60's has a passion for the art of wrist spin. He worked with the leggies and set himself to coach alignment, strong front arm, plus shoulder and hip rotation. Pivot was a big issue too. Keeping it simple, I feel he found success with the boys as well as the confidence to work on the simple basics.
The Delhi heat/humidity really got to me each day but I am glad I went.
I hope the boys and coaches are also pleased I went to Delhi.