A career in Cricket coaching – the problems of not being Kim Hughes.

Phil Cooper

East Midlands
Rotary, U3A, possibly Probus, schools could be a consideration
10th February 2018
Cricket | New Zealand | Cricket Coaching | Scottish Cricket

I dont intend to talk about myself, but many incidents amusing occurred while I was playing, which adds to my story.

Firstly to explain the title. In one cricket article, it outlined the experience of Kim Hughes, the to be Australian test captain concerning the time he played as a professional at Watsonians Cricket Club in Edinburgh. Already having made a name for himself, immediately he was revered.

My own background involved coaching and playing league cricket. I was fortunate enough to break the batting record in the strong Bassetlaw League in North Notts, which proved to be a stepping stone.

I arrived in Scotland just after Hughes at the age of 31 at Glasgow Academy, coaching at the school and playing for the “Accies” (shown in the photo). With the help of an enthusiastic junior convenor at the Accies, gradually the numbers of juniors grew and the age of the senior teams came down. Sometimes I played against test players such as Brendon Bracewell(NZ), Asif Mujtaba (Pakistan) and Nehemiah Odolphus Perry (West Indies). It was pleasing to see many youngsters continue to play, Douglas Lockhart carried on to play for Scotland. Needless to say there were many frustrations and along the way many amusing incidents.

My first job was a season in Amsterdam, where South African played nearby. He liked a good night out and when playing for the Rest of the World opened the batting against DK Lillee, after a Christmas Day party!!!

During the winter I mainly travelled to coach in New Zealand, initially in Wanganui and I was pleased to leave them with players who went on to play first class cricket and in one case test cricket. Fast bowlers seem to gather stories and that could certainly be said about Mike Gill, who played first class cricket for Central Districts. We were regaled by accounts of whom he had hit and the consequences!

During one season I coached in South Africa. The schools there are excellent and it was pleasing to come across a young Jaques Kallis and Aubrey Martyn, who also went on to play for South Africa.

I suppose I have always had a taste for the off beat and so I did some voluntary coaching in France. This resulted in me being volunteered to coach a local Frenchman, who was a sportsman, but had never played cricket – for a cable TV programme!

I hope that people might find the mix of accounts relating to cricket and the goings off which surround my cricket career of interest.

About Phil Cooper

I am a former graduate Biology teacher and also coached cricket for 24 seasons. mainly in New Zealand and Scotland. as a professional. I currently spend the early part of the year in New Zealand and I have delivered several talks, often in New Zealand, which of course I also have an extensive knowledge of having visited the country 14 times.

I continued to travel once I retired. I am prepared to give talks relating to my travel experiences to places, often with a historical background and often not readily visited. These include the Silk Road in Central Asia and Western China, Syria and Jordan, India, Cuba and Peru.

The last trip I undertook was to Northern India and the wildlife reserves in Assam, such as Kaziranga, where there is a large variety of wildlife, including the vulnerable One Horned Rhino. This is the basis of a talk which was well received at Havelock North Rotary Club, Hawkes Bay New Zealand.

I look back at my trip in the Middle East - from Cairo to Istanbul and reflect on what I saw then and what I see currently in places like Aleppo. However the highlight for me was the crusader fortress of Krak des Chevaliers, which is shown on the photo I have included. This was described by TE Lawrence as "perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world".

I research the topics thoroughly and I provide a narrative and background to illustrated talks. I operate on a voluntary basis and am prepared to travel within reasonable distances from my home in North Nottinghamshire.

 Central Asia Talk Feedback

This part of Central Asia included in particular Kunya Urgench, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. The buildings are simply stunning and the area is historically very interesting. It is the arena where the Great Game was played out, the political and diplomatic confrontation between Britain and Russia in the 19th century, which was described by one of the audience as fascinating.

"Very interesting talk. I could hear every word. I knew nothing about this area and learnt a lot. Pleased I came!!"

"A very interesting and thought provoking talk."

"Managed to tie in a wide land and historical areas in a concise and interesting way. Gave a wider understanding of the history of these areas which I had not come across before. Would have liked photos of the surrounding countryside."

Some felt there was perhaps a lot of information to handle, others would have liked more information about other areas such as the geography. The word interesting cropped up many times.

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