EXPERIENCED national cricket coach Dasrath Maharaj and Shiva Boys Hindu College coach David Sultan said a coach must have a range of skills to make an impact.
Maharaj is a former national youth coach with experience at the national Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 levels.The former assistant coach of the senior team has almost 50 years experience as a cricket coach and administrator including his work at FC Clarke Road. One of his proudest moments came in 2013 when he coached the national Under-17 team to the West Indies Cricket Board Regional Under-17 50-over title, in Tobago.
The TT Cricket Board is now accepting applications for the position of head coach of the Red Force team as Mervyn Dillon’s contract expires at the end of April. Dillon has reapplied for the position and is hoping to be selected ahead of the other candidates which includes Imran Jan.
Last week, Dillon said he requested two years minimum to coach the team when he was hired in January 2019. He said that will give the players time to learn his coaching philosophy.
Maharaj said Dillon’s request is a fair one. “I think that is more than fair from Mr Dillon. I think he deserves to get some more time, a minimum three-year contract.”
Speaking in general terms, Maharaj said, “Of course you must have escape clauses from both sides (administrators/coaches). (If) you give a man a three-year contract and he is doing things that are contrary to the game then you have to get rid of him.”
A number of coaches are expected be apply for the top Red Force post in the coming weeks.
Maharaj, one of the first level three coaches in the Caribbean, gave his thoughts on what qualities he thinks a coach should possess.
“I think firstly he must have good man-to-man skills and he must have good knowledge of the different personality types because you are in a team environment (and) the cricketers are not all the same.
“You may have the very aggressive fella or the bold fella, you may have the more quiet ones, the more technical ones and you as coach must be able to recognise the different psychological and mental strengths and weaknesses, so that you can use them in different situations.”
Maharaj said when coaches learn their players they can be put in their appropriate roles within the team and a coach can get the best out of them.
Coaches have different styles in terms of how they interact with their players. Maharaj said coaches must be flexible in their approach. “It has to be a mixture. You have to know when to put your foot down, you have to know when to be democratic, you have to know when to be lenient based on different situations. I don’t think one style is going to make you a successful coach.” Sultan, who led Shiva Boys to its first PowerGen Secondary Schools Cricket League 50-over title in March, said, “The first quality is knowing your players, know their ability, get them to communicate with each other and work as a team and knowing their strength.”
Sultan, who has been coaching Shiva Boys for the past five years, added, “It is important to learn the individual players and make them understand what role they are there for. When they get into a team they must know they have to contribute to a team, it is not an individual thing...win or lose it is still a team effort.”
Sultan said a coach does not necessarily need two or three years with a team to make a positive impact, but must learn all the players strengths.
The Shiva Boys coach said talking to modern day cricketers is also a skill.
“To get the players to work you have to be close to them, you cannot be arrogant to them because the youngsters now are a different generation, difficult to work with (at times). You will have ups and downs with the players, some of them will not like what you want to do or some don’t like what they doing (on the team), but as a coach you can’t get back at them for that.”