ICC Global Cricket Academy May 14, 2006

Rod Marsh: the world at his feet

Cricinfo staff

Rod Marsh at what will be the Dubai Sports City © ICC
Rod Marsh, the former Australia wicketkeeper turned coach, has spoken of his excitement in taking up his new post as director of coaching at the ICC Global Cricket Academy in Dubai. Marsh will begin his duties in September at the enormous and purpose-built Dubai Sports City.

Marsh, 58, was instrumental in coaching many of Australia's players in the 1990s, and was a prize coup for English cricket when, in 2000, he was appointed director of the ECB Academy - much to the surprise of his countrymen. Both he and another Australian, Troy Cooley, the bowling coach, have since returned home and now Marsh's attention turns to the global game.

"Imagine a place like China," Marsh told Queensland's Sunday Mail. "They should be very good. Hand-eye coordination is good. Plenty of little fellas that could bat well and plenty of big blokes that could bowl well, I reckon. Who knows? In 20 or 30 years' time, Australia might be playing Test matches in Shanghai for the Great Wall Trophy."

Marsh holds such clout as a coach, and director of coaching, that realistically the ICC had only eyes for him. He takes up his post in September at a purpose-built cricket centre, or "global university" of cricket, with such facilities as biomechanics, research and sports medicine. The cricket centre will form part of a purpose-built town, Dubai Sports City, housing some 65,000 people. Given the extreme heat in Dubai - for four months of the year, it is scarcely possible to be outside let alone play cricket - an indoor airconditioned facility will be built, large enough to house two jumbo jets.

"I guess I've had the most experience of anyone dealing with academies," he said. "As a consequence I got hired." Although many countries now have their own academies, or are in the process of establishment, Marsh feels the new global academy has a role to play for senior sides and minnows alike.

Who knows? In 20 or 30 years' time, Australia might be playing Test matches in Shanghai for the Great Wall Trophy

Rod Marsh

"If Australia is going to England for an Ashes tour I'd like to think they might come and prepare for a week at the academy in Dubai on the way," he said. "We'd try to prepare pitches at the facility that are similar to what they will get in England. It might be difficult but I'd hope it can be done.

"If you drew a map and worked out the most central point for the cricketing world, I reckon Dubai would come pretty close. I still like to do hands-on coaching. That's what I enjoy. The administration side of the game is something I've never enjoyed a hell of a lot. But I realise that part of coaching really is doing that nowadays. It's more than just taking a guy to the nets."