New Zealand coaches to help USA
In the first positive gains from USA Cricket Association's (USACA) partnership with New Zealand Cricket (NZC), USACA has organised a training camp for December 18-21 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in which two coaches will be arriving from New Zealand to assist USA's coaches and help them with enhanced training methods.
"Dipak Patel, the former New Zealand offspinner, who has coached our Under-19 team as well as some of the New Zealand first class guys will be going along with Hamish Barton who played first-class cricket in New Zealand, and who is the head of the New Zealand cricket coach education team and our coach education programme," said Justin Vaughan, the NZC chief executive.
"Hamish was previously not only a first-class cricketer but also spent some time in South America, was the national coach of Argentina, and has a good knowledge of a number of the United States players."
Barton, 33, played 17 first-class matches for Auckland and Canterbury before going on to be player-coach for Argentina. He also played against USA at the 2008 ICC Americas Division One tournament.
"As well as his coaching expertise, he can bring a background of what you do in cricket and what an overall coach education programme looks like," said Vaughan. "So we are not just talking about a situation where Hamish works with the Under-19s or with the national team, but instead he can start to add value to the overall structures of US cricket, in terms of their coach education programmes and trying to give some advice or sharing the knowledge that we have in terms of training our coaches. We can do that for the United States as well and that's obviously one of the benefits that USACA can gain out of a partnership with a full member of the ICC."
Barton and Patel will be making their way to the US to help the Under-19 squad prepare for January's Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand and helping the men prepare for their first assignment in February, the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE.
The 15-man Under-19 squad along with five reserves will take part in the camp alongside 23 senior players who are in contention for a 14-man squad that will be picked in January to travel to the UAE and then on to Nepal for the WCL Division Five tournament. The Under-19 squad will also have some assistance from NZC when they arrive before the World Cup. Teams must be in Christchurch by January 9, but USACA is looking to send the team a week early so they can get acclimatised and receive additional training.
"I believe they're arriving on the second or third of January," said Vaughan. "They'll have an additional week and will train at the New Zealand Cricket High Performance Centre. I imagine Dipak and Hamish will be working with the team during that preparation phase. They will have already established relationships in the camp that will be held later this week, but they will be working with them in January as well. We'll get them competitive games, whether they're against New Zealand teams or against our Under-19 side who are in New Zealand preparing prior to the World Cup, so that they're as well prepared as they can be."
The High Performance Centre, located at Lincoln University in Christchurch, will offer the USA Under-19 team the chance to utilise facilities that are virtually unavailable in America.
"It won't be an easy tournament for the United States," said Vaughan. "We're obviously getting involved now. It's certainly late in the picture but this is a start of what we feel is a long term partnership so we'll be doing what we can to optimise USA's chances of a good performance in the tournament."