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NCU Cricketers' Attend the Gary Kirstens Cricket Academy

Richard White

Andy McCrea Reports

It was another excellent day of cricket in Cape Town for the Northern Cricket Union (NCU) touring squads, in what has been the warmest day so far. The venue was the superb setting of Claremont Cricket Club and the players got to work with world renowned coaches from the Gary Kirsten Academy.

Gary Kirsten is a former South African International cricketer, playing 101 test matches and 185 One Day Internationals, between 1993 and 2004. In 2011, he famously coached India to World Cup success, in Mumbai, with a six wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

After the warm up, fielding drills and nets sessions were the starting point for the day to gauge how well the players were executing the basics in all facets of the game, which also gave a chance for player observation by the coaches.

Following a lunch break further sessions included scenario batting in the middle and in nets, range hitting, and then classroom discussion led by the players on how they thought the games scenarios had unfolded.

All the NCU players greatly appreciated the time, effort and feedback afforded to them by the Gary Kirsten Academy Coaches, and it was great to see that today's session dovetailed with work and discussions that they had already done during the winter, and also further developed on tour with the NCU coaches.

All players returned thoroughly exhausted but feeling the benefit of the challenges they had been set.

As part of the day, Gary Kirsten attended and spent an hour and a half with the NCU coaches, discussing the current and salient issues of modern coaching and player development.

Gary, who is one of the world's leading coaches, has just returned from coaching the Hobart Hurricanes in the Australian Big Bash to the final, and is just about to travel to the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the batting coach with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. At this tournament he has been tasked with co-ordinating a batting plan for Virat Kohli, AB DeVilliers, and Brendan McCullum amongst others, who are some of the modern day elite players.

Many coaching topics were discussed across all levels of cricket, but the key message was that youth coaching is about player development rather than winning, and he is a strong advocate of the smaller pitches and smaller sided games for young cricketers in order to see their skills executed well.

The NCU has already started to incorporate this into their youth match programme and the NCU Youth Committee are looking forward to this progression in the months ahead.

All players and coaches felt great value from the day and look forward to putting this purposeful practice into match performances for the rest of the tour.

Tour Photos © Brian Walsh