By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Sep 03 (APP): Power-hitting coach Julian Wood and fast bowling coach Gordon Parsons have started their stints at the National High Performance Centre, Lahore for the Engro Cricket Coaching Project under the PCB Pathway Programme.
The two seasoned specialist coaches arrived at the NHPC this week to work with the U13, U16 and U19 players selected for specialized training in the PCB Pathway Programme. A total of 107 players are involved in the first batch of the programme that is aimed at providing world-class coaching, training, education and development of life skills of the future stars of Pakistan.
Wood and Parsons are working with the players at the NHPC’s indoor and outdoor nets besides delivering lectures in their respective areas of expertise. The players will also play practice and scenario-based matches in the upcoming days here at the LCCA Ground and the Gaddafi Stadium.
In addition to the foreign coaches, some of the top-ranked local coaches including former Pakistan stars Arshad Khan, Rao Iftikhar and Ijaz Ahmed Jnr are also working with the players.
Fast bowling coach Gordon Parsons said : “I have received a rousing welcome here and have almost felt like royalty with the affection and hospitality offered by the players, coaches and the staff.
The NHPC is a coach’s paradise, the facilities are absolutely top-class, and my aim would be to contribute further to the rich heritage of Pakistan fast bowlers.
“The PCB Pathway Programme which has involved 100-odd players in their early to mid-teens is a fantastic concept that will surely benefit the future generation of Pakistan stars. As a fast bowling coach, I am delighted to see the talent of the bowlers who have converged here and their willingness to learn.
“For a fast bowler, 17 t0 18 years of age is an ideal time of development, the mechanics of an action and run-up go in tandem with the development of a bowler’s body while assessing potential injury risks.
My aim would be to work on all these aspects to ensure these bowlers get the best out of this camp. Fast bowling is perhaps still the most exciting thing in cricket and there is nothing like a bowler bowling at 150kph regardless of the format.”
Power-hitting coach Julian Wood said : “I have had an amazing time so far since arriving at the NHPC, the facilities are excellent and I am really excited to see the talent in the batters here.
Most of the batters have solid technique, and their fundamentals are in place.
“We have some impressive young batting talent here with strong basics, technique and the desire to learn. As a specialized coach, I would endeavour to teach these players the ways and means of maximizing their talent.
“The buzzwords these days are power-hitting, ball access speed, hand-speed, launch angles and creating angles while batting. In the shorter formats, the time is short, so everything needs to be done quicker but there is so much more to the concept and you need to have a touch game, a skill game and a power game and one thing I have noticed is that these young Pakistan players have all of it.”
The remaining three foreign coaches (Julian Fountain, Toby Radford and Nicholas Webb) part of the Engro Cricket Coaching Project are expected to reach Lahore in the next seven to 10 days.
After the completion of the pathway camp, the players selected for the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Junior League will join their respective sides in the lead-up to the tournament that starts in the first week of October here at the Gaddafi Stadium.