South Africa's Allan Donald may have been amongst the feared pacers in world cricket, but he has a fresh challenge on his plate with the Pune Warriors India (PWI). As head coach, the 'White Lightning' will have to lift the franchise that has been languishing at the bottom in their two years in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Donald spoke to HT about the excitement of his first assignment as chief coach amongst other things.
How excited are you as head coach of the Pune Warriors?
It has always been my ambition to be head coach of a team. So, when Pune approached me three months back, I didn't hesitate. As head coach, you are presented with challenges everyday. My role will be to keep things as simple as possible. Most important is the team's environment, which must be conducive for good results.
It is not often that you have bowlers taking up a head coach's responsibility. What will be your challenges?
(Laughs) I don’t know. I think it is all about adapting and understanding the game. I have learnt from the very best during my playing days, have been under the best coaches like Bob Woolmer.
It is a fairly intimidating environment, with all the high-profile players I will have to deal with. One thing Bob Woolmer insisted on as coach was honesty, something I want to follow.
From your experience of working with India bowlers, what do see as the reason for them being so injury prone?
Maybe they have started young and have not been looked after well. I think the young Indians are not even conditioned well enough. When you play too much cricket from a young age, it builds stress and ultimately leads to injuries.
In fact, it has started happening across the world now. Back home, Marchant de Lange is a strong, well-built guy. But at 19 he was over-bowled and picked up a stress fracture.
Does that extra bit of pace help in T20 cricket?
It is simple — pace wins you games. Take Shaunt Tait for instance, look at the kind of impact he can have. It can count against you, where you leak a lot of runs.
For someone to bowl at 145kmph, the skill factor is massive. But at the same time, you have bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
He bowls at around 125-130 kmph but has sublime control. He is going to be a huge factor with the new ball. I am looking forward to it.
How do you plan to help pacers like Bhuvi and Dinda?
Firstly, I don't think you can teach them much right now. When I worked with the South Africa bowlers (as South Africa's bowling coach), my role was to touch up on their attitudes. Bowling is mainly about attitude, skill works along with it. My job is to make them mentally fit to do well in a match situation.
(TAG: CYCSPL) Also see: J&K star Rasool joins Pune for IPL 6