Aqib: “Working extra hard with the batters specifically on how to counter seam and swing”
Dassanayake: “The bowlers need to make the best of the new ball”
Former international stars-turned coaches reveal gameplans for ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014
The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (CWCQ) will see former Test cricketers Aqib Javed, Paul Collingwood and Pubudu Dassanayake guide the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Scotland and Nepal as the sides battle it out for the final two qualification positions at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 (CWC).
“Working with the batters has been the key for me - you don't want the guys to be too cluttered with technical details going into a tournament. You just want them to be as confident as possible, so I’m working on the mental side of that, and asking them to believe in their strengths.”
Explaining how being a player currently has helped him as a coach, Collingwood said: “If you're still playing, you understand the bad effects of tension in the dressing room.
“So we've tried to relax the guys, so that they can just go out there in the middle and show their ability. And I think that's important.”
Aqib Javed, who will tutor the UAE in New Zealand, asserted the importance of preparing for the conditions, saying: “We have a good batting unit, but it has struggled on green, seaming tracks.
“That’s why I am working extra hard with the batters specifically on how to counter seam and swing. We are practising on synthetic pitches and grassy surfaces.”
Aqib, a member of the victorious Pakistan team at the ICC CWC 1992, and who also featured in the ICC CWC 1996, stated his side was focusing most intently on two teams in its group: “Our main focus early on will be on getting the better of Scotland and Nepal.
“We haven’t faced too many problems in beating Hong Kong, and we managed a clean sweep against Canada when we toured there.
“But if you look at the other two teams, Nepal has beaten us three times in the last two years. The fact that even Afghanistan, which has already qualified for the ICC CWC 2015, hasn’t beaten the UAE recently but Nepal has, puts things in perspective.
“The conditions in New Zealand should be similar to what Scotland’s cricketers play in. It has a fairly decent team, with four or five county players. So it will be fairly difficult to beat.”
Pubudu Dassanayake, who coached Canada at the last ICC CWC and is guiding Nepal in this edition of the ICC CWCQ, also pointed out the importance of basics for his Nepal players, saying: “They are not familiar with conditions where the ball moves around appreciably and where the batsmen have to counter swing and seam by playing late and leaving a lot early on.”
“So the batters need to work extra hard at that, and the bowlers need to make the best of the new ball by getting it to move around as much as they can.”
Dassanayake, who played 11 Tests and 16 ODIs for Sri Lanka before playing for Canada in the 2005 edition of the ICC CWCQ in Ireland, was diplomatic when asked about his former side Canada, saying: “Canada are quite strong and motivated. They would not want to miss out on a fourth successive ICC CWC appearance.”
The ICC CWCQ NZ 2014, which will be the tenth edition of the tournament, will be played from 13 January to 1 February. A total of 48 matches will be staged at seven venues between 10 leading Associate and Affiliate teams.
The 10 ICC Full Members, as well as Ireland and Afghanistan, have already booked their berths for the ICC CWC 2015. The 14-team line-up for the ICC’s flagship event will be completed once the finalists of the ICC CWCQ NZ 2014 are determined.
Nepal, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates are all in Group A of the CWCQ, alongside Canada and Hong Kong. The teams in Group B include Namibia, the Netherlands, Kenya, Papua New Guinea and Uganda.
Schedule of forthcoming releases:
6 Jan – Preview of Group A
7 Jan – Preview of Group B