February 14, 2012

From Queensland policeman to India's bowling coach

India's bowlers will be coached by Joe Dawes, who used to be one of Queensland's finest

India's new bowling coach has worked as a plainclothes policeman for more than eight years. He has dealt with armed robberies, child abuse, and been part of special undercover drug squads. He is better known in cricketing circles as Wallops or Walloper, a term of endearment for a policeman in Australia.

Joe Dawes, a 41-year-old Queenslander, joined the force well before he had taken a wicket for his state, handling situations far more important than getting bowlers to bowl lengths that suit their style of bowling. He was a policeman by 21, a first-class cricketer only after 27, and both for about four years.

"Armed robberies. Drugs squad. Child abuse. Worked in a lot of areas where we were able to sort of help a lot of people, and it was a good job," Dawes says. "Very rewarding. I enjoyed it. You learn a lot about life. You learn how to communicate with people, and deal with the good and bad of society. It was a great life experience, I suppose."

Being a policeman, Dawes says, brought perspective to life, and cricket was a bit of an escape. "It allowed me to have balance in my life," he says. "It allowed me to enjoy my cricket. I enjoyed being a policeman, but I loved being a cricketer, and I enjoyed the balance between the two. You have a bad day at cricket, you got to work, and cricket was my escape from the police job."

His team-mates knew of his other life. "Sometimes I'd turn up straight from work," Dawes says. "And I'd be late turning up because I had been involved in an arrest or something like that. They all knew that. Well and truly. They were very supportive for it.

"They enjoyed jokes at my expense, I suppose. And I was also the one that had to give out advice on speeding tickets and everything else. Good fun."

His team-mates had to be careful too. Not only was Dawes a cop, he is a huge unit. "Probably not so much ribbing," Dawes says. "I was bigger than most of them. So they didn't take a lot of mickey out of me. It was just a source of amusement."

Dawes took 285 first-class wickets, most of them for Queensland, and is considered by many to be unlucky that his best form coincided with the best form of Michael Kasprowicz and Andy Bichel. A knee injury cut his career short, after which he got into coaching. His first job was with Queensland, where his assistant was Trevor Penney, who is now India's fielding coach. Dawes is currently South Australia's bowling coach.

His new appointment came about during India's tour of Australia, because the incumbent, Eric Simons, was not interested in extending his contract. Dawes has worked with Penney, and has met Duncan Fletcher a few times. He also met the captain, MS Dhoni, once for a brief chat, when he was working towards finalising details of the job.

The details aren't final yet. All that is clear is that the contract is for two years. Dawes doesn't quite know when he starts - with the Asia Cup or after the IPL. He considers it "a great honour" to be involved with India. He is optimistic about India's bowling resources.

"It's a bit of an untapped resource, for me," he says. "I have been at the MRF a number of times and seen a lot of great talent there. The young Indian bowlers. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav coming through. Looking forward to working with them."

Dawes hasn't been able to follow India closely during this series, though. "It's a busy season working with South Australia," he says. "I try to keep an eye on them."

Like his predecessor Simons, Dawes doesn't have any Test experience, but he feels that doesn't matter much. "I think if you look at that Indian side, there is a lot of experience there," he says. I'll be able to bring out my areas of, I guess, knowledge about bowling. Will be great if I can add to whatever is already there in the group. There is a lot of Test matches in that group. Hopefully I can add to it in my way. I'll bring my thoughts and my expertise to the Indian team, and add that to the experienced group."

Dawes has been to India four times, at the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai and with South Australia for the Champions League. The pressures of coaching India, though, will be completely different. "Coaching is a pressure-filled job," Dawes says. "Coaching at the highest level will bring the highest level of pressure.

"[India is a] unique place. Great place. Thoroughly enjoyed my trips to India. To be part of the Indian cricket team is an excellent opportunity. I know the great expectations that come with it. If I didn't think I could not only cope with that but also add and excel in that, I wouldn't have taken the job."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jayajayaraman on February 16, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    For me it would be better for India to have someone on whom Dhoni has confidence. With Dravid / Laxman / SRT almost at the end of carrier and Gambir / Raina / Mukund / Jadeja / Dhawan all lefties comming up...it would be better to have Stephen Flemming to be the coach of India..

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    First of all India need to get rid of some senior players who ain't performing & give youngsters a go.

  • Sony on February 16, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    He played test matches or not, simply doesn't matter. What we need is someone who is used to the latest technologies in training bowlers. Not some ex-india player who will tell the bowlers to do some stretching and go 10 rounds in the stadium and the training ends there. Being a coach in shield, am sure he will be used to all the latest technologies in training. If he can also get that Sheffield Shield work ethic to indian bowlers, it will be a bonus.

  • Arvind on February 15, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    @keshub - i never said alll good test players will make good coaches. the guys i mentioned have all had decent success training teams. wasim akram as coach of calcutta in ipl. waqar as pakistan coach. mcgrath as delhi's mentor in the ipl.walsh and ambrose will coach through sheer awesomeness :P

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    @Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow ...who told u good test players are good coaches...

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    India needs to get rid of Uncle Fetcher as soon as possible.. India needs someone who is young and has fair bit of technical knowledge with excellent man management skills.. Cos the transition phase which is going to happen we need someone who is good at one to one to settle the youngsters into the highest level of the game. Lehman, Fleming, Chandrapaul, or Martyn are good options..

  • Ambrish on February 15, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    Agree with Krishna_M's comments. The pace bowling unit needs someone like Joe Dawes. The spinners need to be nurtured differently. For this I would recommend someone like Venkataraghavan. He has played the game at the highest level as an off-spinner with a fair degree of success. His multi-faceted personality (his experiences as a successful umpire and an administrator) and experience, his spin capabilities, his focus on fitness and his reading of the game could make him a good coach for the young spinners.

  • Arvind on February 15, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    wasim akram is only commentating for espn. waqar younis is blubbing in the Ten Sports commentary box. Glenn McGrath seems to be working on his cancer foundation and not much else. Ambrose is playing guitar in Antigua and generally chilling out. Walsh is working with the WI youth and not much else. and we go for an ex-cop who hasn't played a single Test.nice!

  • Kuldeep on February 15, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    It will great for India to have an Aussie coach. India has the raw talent they need somebody to shape it at the highest level.

  • Vishal on February 15, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    If this is the first move by the BCCI to rejig the coaching staff, I'd be happier if Fletcher gets the boot and someone with fresher ideas and a ruthless approach comes in. If Dawes was recommended by Penney, may well be that both could recommend Darren Lehmann, who's one of the most astute coaches currently, and has worked very well in grooming young talent down in South Australia. India could take a leaf, and plan forward by making Kohli captain in T20s, Dhoni for ODIs and maybe someone like Gambhir for Tests. If Boof comes in, we'll see a different Team India. And to all those who still think Aussie coaches don't favour Indians, just wait and watch mate, they'll bring in that killer instinct that the Indians have forever lacked!

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