Nathan Dodd is a Cricket Australia High Performance Coach who is currently looking after the Australian Cricket Team for Players with an Intellectual Disability. He is not new to Nepali cricket as he had took over the Pokhara Rhinos as coach in the last season of the Everest Premier League Twenty20.
Although Rhinos went on to finish at the bottom of the table, Dodd was pretty happy with his first stint in Nepal and now looks ahead if he can revisit the Himalayan nation for more franchise cricket tournaments. Here we talk with Dodd and his experience in coaching along with Nepali cricket:
Q. What does coaching mean for you?
A. For me, coaching provides an opportunity to have a positive impact on players life. Being able to help them achieve their goals and dreams is what I’m passionate about.
Q. What are you currently doing in Australia in terms of coaching ?
A. I have a few different consultant coaching roles, but my main focus at the moment is my coaching role with our Australian Cricket Team for Players with an Intellectual Disability. We play in the INAS Global Games in October
Q. What is the farthest you have reached so far in your coaching career?
A. I really enjoy my current role with Cricket Australia, but have also been fortunate enough to spend some time with the Western Warriors and New South Wales Blues in first class cricket.
Q. How was your experience when you looked after the Pokhara Rhinos team in the Everest Premier League?
A. It was a fantastic experience. I was lucky to work with good players and support staff/management who were all great people. It was also a good learning experience for me personally. I learnt a lot about the game and coaching in Asia and a lot about myself as well.
Q. Before taking over at Rhinos, how much aware were you of Nepali cricket?
A. I did a lot of research and also consulted some people in the cricket world on what cricket in Nepal was like and what to expect. I understood there had been some challenging times for the game off the field, but knew that the Nepalese players were very skillful in their own way.
Q. How was the environment in the Everest Premier League?
A. It was really good. The atmosphere at the ground was amazing and I think the tournament was well run.
Q. Despite having a decent squad, Rhinos finished at the bottom of the table in EPL last season. Where it all went wrong, especially with Richard Levi firing in all cylinders?
A. Richard played really well and there were some good moments from our other senior players at different stages also. With T20 cricket being so short, you have to grab those key moments in games when they come along. Unfortunately we didn’t grab as many of those key moments as we needed too.
It’s also no secret that we also dropped too many catches, you’re not going to take every catch as nobody is perfect but we dropped far too many which put more pressure on ourselves. In saying that, I’m sure our young players have learnt from that and have gone away and worked hard to improve in that part of the game.
Q. What is your normal perspective of Nepali domestic cricket and the way home-grown players compete in the EPL?
A. I think it’s really difficult for the players to be asked to step up to the level of the EPL without a good domestic structure and pathway system to play and develop in all year round. From my perspective, Nepal have done fantastically well to earn ODI status and they have basically done it on their own skills. Unfortunately relying purely on natural skill isn’t sustainable for success in High Performance sport.
A good domestic structure, improved facilities and a strong player pathway system is needed. As every talented young Nepalese boy or girl should have the opportunity to access that pathway and have the opportunity to perform at the highest level if they’re good enough.
Q. You recently worked under Justin Langer and Phil Jaques. Can you tell us something about those associations?
A. I’m very lucky to have had some opportunities to work for two premier coaches like Justin and Phil. I’ve learnt so much (and continue to learn a lot) from both of them in different ways and it’s great to be able to get their advice/help and talk about coaching and life. They are two very hard working, intelligent and driven people, which gives me great guidance and knowledge by being around them.
Q. What are you involved in when its a proper cricketing season in Australia?
A. I work for Cricket Australia in a consultant coaching capacity, but I also assist the New South Wales Blues when needed and am a white ball consultant coach for Parramatta in New South Wales Premier Cricket. I’ve had some preliminary talks about possibly doing some coaching work in a couple of different franchise leagues overseas, so hopefully I’ll be able to do some more of that also.
Q. How much did you like Nepal, especially the people, culture through the perspective of a foreigner?
A. I loved it. As I said I was fortunate to be around a really good group at the Rhinos franchise, from the players to the staff and also our owners who are all great people. I had a good relationship with all our sponsors, members of the media and the general public (some I’m sure weren’t Rhinos fans) who were always friendly and happy to just have a chat.
But I really loved the passion the Nepalese people have for the game and I was really thankful to the Rhinos fans for all the support they gave me and the team. I wanted us to play an aggressive and entertaining cricket brand of cricket which made our supporters proud.
Photos Courtesy: Pokhara Rhinos