A broadcast-quality audio interview with Mudassar Nazar on his trip to Kenya can be found here: http://goo.gl/W8r0K7
Mudassar Nazar, the Head Coach of the ICC Academy at Dubai Sports City, has travelled to Kenya to assist the national team in its attempts to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2015.
The former Pakistan all-rounder, whose career includes a spell working as Kenya coach, left Dubai on Sunday, drafted in by Cricket Kenya (CK) to work with the side for 10 days in the build-up to next month’s ICC CWC Qualifier in New Zealand.
It follows on from the side’s failure to reach next year’s ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh after it finished eleventh in the qualifying tournament (ICC WT20Q) in the UAE.
“I was watching Kenya’s match against Afghanistan (in the ICC WT20Q), talking with their newly-appointed General Manager Kobus (Olivier),” said Mudassar.
“Kobus knew of my time as Kenya coach and that I had worked with the players before and he said they were desperate to qualify (for the ICC CWC) and would I mind coming over.
“I was a little reluctant about committing myself as my spouse (Jackie Janmohammed) is CK chairman and it could be seen as a conflict.
“We left it but I then found out CK got in touch with the ICC Academy directly and it started from there.”
Kenya will be one of 10 sides in New Zealand in January competing for the final two places available at the ICC CWC 2015. The Kenyans will be hoping to join those teams already confirmed for the ICC CWC – the 10 ICC Full Members, plus Ireland and Afghanistan, which qualified by occupying the top two places in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship.
“I am delighted to be going because there were things in that (ICC WT20Q) tournament they (the Kenya players) could have done better and I had made mental notes about that so I am going with a plan in my head of what I intend to do,” said Mudassar.
“A lot of that will be technical, but also trying to get the most out of the players who could have gone that extra yard in the tournament and were unable to do so.”
A broadcast quality audio interview with Mudassar about his trip to work with the Kenya team and the development of the global role of the ICC Academy is available for free editorial use and can be found here: http://goo.gl/W8r0K7
Mudassar will be working with not only the Kenya players but also Gary Kirsten, the former India and South Africa coach, during his time at the training camp.
“I am hoping my input will be positive. I do not think there is an awful lot of tweaking that needs to be done,” he said.
“I know they (Cricket Kenya and the players) and the cricketing public are hoping for a lot… and if I can improve their performances by five or 10 per cent then maybe that will help in a big way.
“I understand time is very short but it is not an impossible mission. The players have shown enough that if they put certain things in place then they will be able to turn things around.
“The challenge will be for the batsmen to work out how to bat on pitches in New Zealand where the ball will seam and it will be a little colder (than they are used to) as well.”
And could this assignment lead to a role within the Cricket Kenya set-up during the ICC CWC Qualifier itself?
“It has been mentioned but I am a little bit reluctant at this time because we are very busy at the ICC Academy,” he said. “I may not be given the liberty to go and Cricket Kenya may also think 10 days is enough and then they can move forward from there.”
Mudassar’s role with Cricket Kenya is all part of the ever-growing role of the ICC Academy in assisting the ICC High Performance Programme and Mudassar said it was great to see the facility being used as a hub for cricketing knowledge and best practice.
“When the idea of the ICC Academy was first moved, it was always the idea to be doing this sort of stuff and we are now in a position to be offering so much to these international teams.
“That involves not only our facilities but also our coaching too and whoever has come (to the ICC Academy) has come back and back and back again.
“We have just had South Africa and Pakistan here, now we have Pakistan and Sri Lanka, it is an ongoing thing and it is fantastic for cricket.”
ICC Academy General Manager David Jenkins said: “It is a real feather in the cap for the ICC Academy that Mudassar’s presence has been requested in Kenya, and it comes as no surprise to us as he is an outstanding coach.
“Here at the ICC Academy we are delighted to be playing an ever-growing part in developing the game and assisting any countries that need it.
“The ICC Academy really has become a global hub for the game with teams coming in from all over the world to tap into our world-class facilities and expertise and that is very gratifying.
“We also have more than 600 children training and playing with us from our Cricket Cubs programme for those just old enough to walk, right up to our Junior Warriors, with two age-group sides going on an overseas tour this past summer.
“Sri Lanka have been training with us this week, following on from our hosting of Pakistan and South Africa and matches in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, and next year we will be staging matches in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
“It is a fantastic time to be involved with the ICC Academy and as we continue to progress then things will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Dubai Sports City General Manager – Sports Business Maqbul Dudhia added: “The fact Mudassar has been drafted into Cricket Kenya’s pre-ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier plans illustrates his quality and it also illustrates the key roles of Dubai Sports City and the ICC Academy in helping to grow the game globally.
“This week alone we will host the ICC Intercontinental Cup Final between Afghanistan and Ireland at the ICC Academy and two Twenty20 Internationals between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Dubai International Stadium.
“Dubai Sports City is really buzzing at the moment and cricket is playing a big part in that. Long may that continue.”