February 15, 2012

Who is Joe Dawes?

Joe Dawes was announced yesterday as India's new bowling coach
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Joe Dawes was announced yesterday as India's new bowling coach. I've already read a few blog comments on various cricket websites and online newspapers, and some Indian fans are understandably a bit nervous about who they are getting to fill Eric Simons' shoes. I'm here to put your minds at ease - worry not folks, this is one appointment that will reap rich dividends soon.

Let me state my bias upfront so there's no question of me offering a neutral opinion. I've known Joey since we first started playing cricket together at Valleys CC in Brisbane back in 1995. We've been good mates ever since and we've even worked together. So the opinions I offer suffer from undoubted bias but they also benefit from an intimate knowledge of the man himself. It cuts both ways.

I won't even begin to address his technical competence because, frankly, I don't understand what it takes to coach bowling at this level. Suffice to say that he has all the qualifications and experience but it's how he imparts that knowledge and then gets players to execute those skills under pressure that will impress you. Just wait and see.

I rate Joey's coaching skills highly because he was a cricketer who had to fight his way through the system to get to where he is right now. He was one of the last players to come through the old-fashioned way of playing grade cricket, having to take lots of wickets and forcing his way into first-class cricket on the back of sheer weight of performance.

He was almost the last of that generation of club cricketer who found his way into the Sheffield Shield squad through consistent club performances. Many of today's contracted players come through the academies and junior talent ID programs, making Under-19 representative teams along the way and migrating onto the contract list via that path. It's almost like we've invested so much in them that it's a waste of money to not migrate them into the senior squad. Some modern cricketers have hardly played senior club cricket; their talent was spotted early, they were coached from the age of 13 or so, and they just kept making representative teams as they fulfilled their own prophecies.

Not so Joey Dawes. He was never really in the mix until the selectors simply could not ignore his consistent haul of club wickets, at a time when Queensland's bowling stocks were rich indeed. They didn't really need to go looking for another fast bowler but Joey forced them to pick him. He did it on the back of a sudden spurt of self-improvement, increased fitness and an amazing discovery of a few extra yards of pace. At the height of his career, he was as quick as anyone going around in Shield cricket (at a time when Australia had fast bowling depth to burn) and he bowled a "heavy ball". I've faced him often enough in the nets to now understand what that term means. My bruised ribs testify to that. It is this life experience that will benefit the Indian bowling unit - Joey understands how to bring on a latent talent that for whatever reason has been unfulfilled.

His past career as a policeman will also be an asset to him. He has that curious mix of empathy and caring, which police officers often have in their character make-up, aligned with a no-nonsense, no bullshit mentality that has probably been honed by what he experienced on the beat. He is brutally honest in the way he gets his point across but that honesty always carries with it a ready willingness to fix the problem. He once had to call me and tell me I was dropped from an A Grade final and it was a fairly simple phone call. No waffling around the edges, just the simple truth that I was going to be 12th man because my performance the previous week wasn't good enough. As miffed as I was to miss out on selection, I appreciated the fact that there weren't any other limp excuses trotted out to cushion the blow. "Not good enough" was a clear message. What struck me later, though, was that the next time I was in the nets with him he actually came up with strategies to help me improve.

That's the sort of straight-talking honesty that the Indian squad can expect from their new bowling coach. Honest, direct, straight to the point with no frills around the truth. Equally, his life experience on and off the field allows him to communicate effectively with players who aren't necessarily born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Mark my words - he will bring on a couple of young quicks who have latent talent but have been languishing on the periphery. He has walked a mile in their shoes.

Joey was instrumental in helping me to design a "lifeskills" programme for elite athletes that I now run across the country. His input at design and execution stage was invaluable because he was able to cut through political correctness and identify issues that were relevant to young athletes from all sports. When confronted by young men with oversized egos, Joey had no problem with cutting them down to size. Equally, I've seen him counsel young female athletes who needed a sympathetic ear and empathy (not necessarily sympathy) and his gentleness surprised me on more than one occasion. As someone who is almost the polar opposite of him in every respect, my friendship with him is a curious one. He's never played cricket the way I did (he didn't have to - he bowled fast!) but the fact that we're both MCC members hinted at a shared philosophy for cricket that we still have in common.

What to expect from India's new bowling coach? Discipline and honesty. He will hold players accountable for their results and work ethic. He will see through lame excuses and lazy habits. He will be open to helping anybody but I suspect he won't pander to spoiled young men looking for the easy way in and out of the Indian team. Biased though I am, I think Indian cricket will be better for his input, not just as a bowling coach but as a bloke who has lived a life outside the game too. Hard but fair. India have got themselves a good 'un this time. Just don't let him anywhere near your batsmen or they'll all be trying to bash the ball over midwicket!

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cleterwvn on September 16, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    Everyone will like here!Good idea!

  • pletcherfzc on September 8, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    Here let me understand more knowlege!

  • K Kuhaneasan on February 23, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Qualifications do come worthless unless proved and if this coach can produce the results expected then ok.Keep in mind that the players should willing to take the best out of him.All the best.

  • Babi on February 21, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Played against Joey few years back now. He use to play for Bickley Park in Kent League. There are some really good coaches in India. I would have Uday Joshi as Indian bowling coach.

  • Patrick on February 18, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    Looks like an Ideal candidate for the job. Trust he will be more of 'The Instrumental Type' Which is what the Indian bowling coach should be vying for. Burn some bums into firing on all cylinders.. Look forward to your stint. Do adapt to the Indian melting pot.! Cheers!!!

  • Shubhamjaiswal on February 17, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Hi,Yuvraj

    What India team need is you Yuvraj.Please come soon Yuvraj.Without you team is nothing,India team needs you.

    Thanks

  • Adam on February 16, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    Good luck Joe,

    What India needs are quicks above 140km, averaging below 30 overseas, don't worry about in India the team seems to have this covered but overseas the great teams have had quick bowlers who can strike but also tighten things up, Yadav appears to have the goods and with Sharma Dawes could create a terrific opening pair, the three should sit down and watch footage of Australia's attack from the last series, as for the spinners well that's a whole other conversation.

  • Pat Culpan on February 16, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Well written Fox, spot on about the big fella. Best of luck to Joey in India, I have no doubt both parties will be better for the experience.

  • Muthukumaran on February 16, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    great lines subrata....legends like akram,waqar,kapil even chaminda vaas is there ..but still we are looking for a guy from different sort of conditions..hope bcci will make a good selection hereafter.any way we wish joey davies all the best with our young bowlers....

  • karthik on February 16, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    Looks to me as if we will be seeing the end of the medium pace trundlers like the praveen kumars.

  • cleterwvn on September 16, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    Everyone will like here!Good idea!

  • pletcherfzc on September 8, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    Here let me understand more knowlege!

  • K Kuhaneasan on February 23, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Qualifications do come worthless unless proved and if this coach can produce the results expected then ok.Keep in mind that the players should willing to take the best out of him.All the best.

  • Babi on February 21, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    Played against Joey few years back now. He use to play for Bickley Park in Kent League. There are some really good coaches in India. I would have Uday Joshi as Indian bowling coach.

  • Patrick on February 18, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    Looks like an Ideal candidate for the job. Trust he will be more of 'The Instrumental Type' Which is what the Indian bowling coach should be vying for. Burn some bums into firing on all cylinders.. Look forward to your stint. Do adapt to the Indian melting pot.! Cheers!!!

  • Shubhamjaiswal on February 17, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    Hi,Yuvraj

    What India team need is you Yuvraj.Please come soon Yuvraj.Without you team is nothing,India team needs you.

    Thanks

  • Adam on February 16, 2012, 23:33 GMT

    Good luck Joe,

    What India needs are quicks above 140km, averaging below 30 overseas, don't worry about in India the team seems to have this covered but overseas the great teams have had quick bowlers who can strike but also tighten things up, Yadav appears to have the goods and with Sharma Dawes could create a terrific opening pair, the three should sit down and watch footage of Australia's attack from the last series, as for the spinners well that's a whole other conversation.

  • Pat Culpan on February 16, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    Well written Fox, spot on about the big fella. Best of luck to Joey in India, I have no doubt both parties will be better for the experience.

  • Muthukumaran on February 16, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    great lines subrata....legends like akram,waqar,kapil even chaminda vaas is there ..but still we are looking for a guy from different sort of conditions..hope bcci will make a good selection hereafter.any way we wish joey davies all the best with our young bowlers....

  • karthik on February 16, 2012, 6:03 GMT

    Looks to me as if we will be seeing the end of the medium pace trundlers like the praveen kumars.

  • Luqman amin on February 16, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    I think we need a strong bowling coach who can really sharpen our pace attack.As we know our cricket board is very rich,we can afford a good bowling coach.so our board should try to get Mcgrath,Pollock or Antieny as our bowling coach.

  • yougander reddy on February 15, 2012, 19:26 GMT

    same thing was said abt mr.duncan looser fletcher" !! the guy who achieved a record in demolishing india frm top to no.5 !!

    hope this guy davies unearths some fast bowlers like ta.sekhar unearthed umesh yadav and varun aaron for delhi dare devils !!

    why dont atleast bcci make t.a .sekhar as assistant bowling coach ??he has loads of experience and he's a great coach.

  • kp on February 15, 2012, 19:25 GMT

    india could have dennis lillee, michael holding, imran khan and alan donald coaching out bowlers and it still won't make any difference. good luck joey, you're gonna need it.

  • Amith on February 15, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    One thing that bowlers at the highest level have in abundance is talent. So i dont see a coach adding too much to that except a few minor improvements. What I would really like to see the bowling coach do is to prepare the bowling unit for the surface that they are likely to bowl on - identify the right line and length for the different surfaces. In the recent test matches, our bowlers seemed to bowl with hope rather than a plan, to get wickets. The other thing that the bowling coach could look to do is work out Plan A & B for different opposition batsmen and get the bowlers to practice those plans in the nets like a stage artist would rehearse for the grand premiere.

  • surya saxena on February 15, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    Australian ways won't work well with Indians.Its a great opportunity for him to earn some good money for few years and gain good experience as International bowling coach.So,all the best! for some tough days ahead in sub continent with Indian team.

  • sundoo on February 15, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    He may be good but the Indian 'culture'will blow him away if he is like Greg Chappel bringing in the 'Aussie' spirit. Unfortunately India failed to gain from Chappels inputs and like only innocuous coaches etc.All these Indian greats even now -dont ground their bats,cant throw from the deep ,cannot bowl to their field and play on ,on reputations. We do win once in a while n that too by huffing and puffing. All the best wishes for the new coach.

  • Chandan on February 15, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    @mo like Dhakkan Fletcher?

  • Akshay on February 15, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Best of Luck to Joe Dawes !!! Hope he is able to work on all the lazyness are bowlers have shown in the all the test series since the world cup , and get their butts in shape . Alrite bowling coach replaced , now time for head coach and captain to be replaced .... yeah , bye bye dhoni (as captain in tests at least ) and hope to never see you again duncan fletcher ...

  • viji on February 15, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    joe dawes is one good outsider, ran in class VI & III, track is good. now running in class I. if he wins the dividends will be 100 to 1..... i guess, first wee need to import 5 to 6 such joes and make them run in our local centers like chennai, mumbai, bangalore, rajastan, delhi etc.

  • mo on February 15, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    india needs experieced coach - NOT NOVICE. BIASED OPINIAN. WE NEED NON BIASED OPINIAN.

  • Vilander on February 15, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    Best of luck Joe, may you be Kirstensque.

  • K.G.VENKATESH on February 15, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Another Coach like Duncan Fletcher or Andy Flower

  • Anand on February 15, 2012, 9:03 GMT

    Michael, I am one of those doubters. I hope Ishant, who has been a promising bowler for four years now becomes a finished product. Seeing the lack of improvement and the occasional loss of ability in the Indian seamers under Simons, I am very worried but your article has given me hope and something to look forward to. Cheers

  • deepak on February 15, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    Hai Sir

    Please handle our bowlers , we want our team back to number1 All the best

    ours is a cricket crazy nation

  • Vincen on February 15, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    straight talking honesty - well, that is where Joe Dawes can land himself into a lot of trouble with our system!!! Good luck to him though, seems a fine self made man/cricketer!

  • BidssmuhPumma on February 15, 2012, 7:31 GMT

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  • kannan on February 15, 2012, 7:28 GMT

    That was a nice observation about joey i was curious yesterday to know about our Indian Teams new bowling coach after i read some article in Cric info i was convinced that he is the man. What do Indian public expect from Joey .Make our bowlers bowl fast and teach them ethical way of bowling and groom more and more speedster in the country there is immense talent "Sreesanth , Ishanth , Umesh , Irfan , Praveen , RP , Vinay , Aaron , And many more youngsters" we want them to be more responsible and in 2 yrs time we want Joey to leave a mark in Indian cricket as Gary Kristen did during his tenure . Happy we have a hard working cricketer as Bowling coach his knowledge well help our batsmen as well a great deal. All the Best Joey "We Indians welcome you with Warm Heart"

  • Dave on February 15, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    Really rate Dawes, he has been a great bowling coach for the Redbacks over the last year or so. His work with our locally born and bred guys like Kane Richardson and Peter George will see them playing regularly for Australia in a couple of years, or at least mixing it in the rotation of top Aussie fast bowlers.

  • Renjith on February 15, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    Best wishes to Joe. He has a big task of fulfilling the dreams of 1 billion people.

  • Kasyap on February 15, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Thanks for the article Michael. These are testing (as well as exciting) times for Indian bowling unit and if Mr. Dawes can step in and make a difference, that would be great. We have already lost a number of bowlers inexplicably (Irfan - though he is making a come back, Munaf, Sreesanth). Hope Joe can come in and hone the skills of the existing group (Yadav, Aaron, Ishant & others).

  • Kiran on February 15, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Hi Michael That is great to hear. We really need someone to "kick" our bowlers into shape but with a "cushioned" foot....if you get what I mean.

    On another topic, do you know of any good cricket academy for fast bowlers? My cousin is an aspiring state player in south India and I'm looking for a good academy in Australia that will help him not only become a better bowler (speed, accuracy & swing primarily) but also so he can understand his body - fitness and nutrion.

  • Suresh Nair on February 15, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    sounds like exactly what's needed as far as Indian bowlers are concerned. they tend to come into the national side fast and eager and get mysteriously afflicted with "medium-pace mediocrity" disease. Zaheer is probably the only exception. and now that Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar are showing signs of promise, a Joe Dawes may be exactly what we need to bring them and others like Ishant, Munaf, RP, VRV and perhaps even Sreesanth to their full potential. if their egos can take the bruising, that is :-)

  • Gaurav on February 15, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    Really breathing a sigh of relief now after reading the insights!! India needs exactly such men as they just seem to have become lazy after the world cup.. also there is a lack of motivation and complacency about being in the Indian team forever..!

  • Subrata on February 15, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Indian board can never leave their infatuation on Foreigner. They always have a higher value for a foreigner cat in comparison to an Indian or a subcontinental tiger. BCCI always rocks on hilarious jokes ;)

  • Eric Simmons on February 15, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Get a room you two!

  • Super Lijo on February 15, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    Hope he does well and improves team bowling.

  • himanshu on February 15, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    i hope he will get the best out of ishant sharma.he is a real talent who can achieve great heights with good guidance..

  • here2rock on February 15, 2012, 5:11 GMT

    Thank you for nice article on India's new bowling coach. I think Indian cricket does need a police man who will stop them them being lazy and get them to work hard. Indian bowlers have the raw talent but they lack discipline and consistency. Hopefully these attributes of Joe Dawes will rubb off on the young Indian quicks. I wish him very best for the job.

  • Paul Carroll on February 15, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Fox ! Been a while !

  • Rony Patra on February 15, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    Judging by Michael Jeh's comments, I would love to see what progress Dawes makes with the Yadavs and the Aarons.

  • R.Balasubramanian on February 15, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    Good luck to Dawes in his new assignment. Welcome to the poisoned chalice, Joey. You are bound to have your hands-full from here on. Better to remember what happened to Greg Chappell.

  • Harpal Raol on February 15, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    Good luck Joe!!

  • Harpal Raol on February 15, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    Good luck Joe!!

  • Rajiv Pandey on February 15, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Wish him al de best .

  • Ambrish Sundaram on February 15, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly that Indian cricket badly needs the work ethics and the non-nonsense attitude that Joe Dawes could bring. The question is about how Joe Dawes will break through the rot that has gotten into the Indian cricket system. In a team where past exploits and seniority guarantee players permanent spots in the team, where laziness pervades through every sinew of the players, I wonder how Joe Dawes will get his message through. In the past, experienced coaches met with stoic resistance from senior players, who would question the relevance of the coach by asking questions such as "How many tests has he played? How does he know what I need when he has hardly played at the international level?". India sorely needs his work ethic and his straight talk but does India recognize the value and the need for his approach? I am sceptical. Only time will tell.

  • Brews on February 15, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    Isn't he Joe the Cameraman?

  • RichardMaretti on February 15, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    This is Babulerman.

  • Gopal on February 15, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    I would definitely like to believe what you have said Jeh! Read very good things about him in the net.. Just hope he can rub that australian never say die attitude onto our boys! Thanks for the article, its lot reassuring :)

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  • Gopal on February 15, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    I would definitely like to believe what you have said Jeh! Read very good things about him in the net.. Just hope he can rub that australian never say die attitude onto our boys! Thanks for the article, its lot reassuring :)

  • RichardMaretti on February 15, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    This is Babulerman.

  • Brews on February 15, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    Isn't he Joe the Cameraman?

  • Ambrish Sundaram on February 15, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly that Indian cricket badly needs the work ethics and the non-nonsense attitude that Joe Dawes could bring. The question is about how Joe Dawes will break through the rot that has gotten into the Indian cricket system. In a team where past exploits and seniority guarantee players permanent spots in the team, where laziness pervades through every sinew of the players, I wonder how Joe Dawes will get his message through. In the past, experienced coaches met with stoic resistance from senior players, who would question the relevance of the coach by asking questions such as "How many tests has he played? How does he know what I need when he has hardly played at the international level?". India sorely needs his work ethic and his straight talk but does India recognize the value and the need for his approach? I am sceptical. Only time will tell.

  • Rajiv Pandey on February 15, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Wish him al de best .

  • Harpal Raol on February 15, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    Good luck Joe!!

  • Harpal Raol on February 15, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    Good luck Joe!!

  • R.Balasubramanian on February 15, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    Good luck to Dawes in his new assignment. Welcome to the poisoned chalice, Joey. You are bound to have your hands-full from here on. Better to remember what happened to Greg Chappell.

  • Rony Patra on February 15, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    Judging by Michael Jeh's comments, I would love to see what progress Dawes makes with the Yadavs and the Aarons.

  • Paul Carroll on February 15, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Fox ! Been a while !