Otago Daily Times

Coach seeks to get most out of Sparks

CRICKET For­mer in­ter­na­tional and long­serv­ing Otago opener Craig Cum­ming will coach the Otago Sparks this sum­mer. He caught up with cricket writer Adrian Seconi be­fore the team’s sea­son­opener against Can­ter­bury in Oa­maru to­day.

- Sports · College Sports · Otago · New Zealand · Canterbury · Georgia · Australia · United Kingdom · Dunedin · Cumming · New Zealand Cricket · Suzie Bates · Hallyburton Johnstone

YOU have seen him play. You have heard him talk. Now, Craig Cum­ming has to har­ness all that knowl­edge and use it to get the best out of his play­ers.

The 45­year­old for­mer Otago and Black Caps opener forged an im­pres­sive first­class ca­reer.

He played 147 first­class games — 95 for Otago — and scored 9142 runs at an av­er­age of 38.25.

The right­han­der also amassed 147 list A game and 44 twenty20 matches dur­ing a 19­year ca­reer.

Cum­ming got all the way to the top as well. He played 11 tests and 13 one­day in­ter­na­tion­als.

Not long af­ter he re­tired in 2012, Cum­ming be­gan a broad­cast­ing ca­reer and built a rep­u­ta­tion for his anal­y­sis. He plans to lean on those skills in his new role as Sparks coach.

‘‘One of the things I want to bring to the game is an abil­ity to do some real good re­search and scout­ing on the op­po­si­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘In­stead of just turn­ing up and play­ing, we want to be re­ally or­gan­ised and have def­i­nite plans.

‘‘That is one of the things you’ll see with the Sparks this year.

‘‘For those who know me, and lis­tened to me as a com­men­ta­tor, will know I love that side of the game. I like pick­ing apart the op­po­si­tion and try­ing to come up with plans, so we will be do­ing that with the op­po­si­tion.

‘‘And if the op­po­si­tion do have suc­cess, it is go­ing to be hard be­cause we are go­ing to ask them to play re­ally well.’’

Cum­ming has a New Zealand Cricket level 3 coach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion and has been coach­ing since he re­tired from play­ing.

But this is his first stint as a head coach at this level and the Sparks will be miss­ing some key play­ers.

Star player Suzie Bates is out for the sea­son. The White Ferns batswoman in­jured her shoul­der while com­pet­ing in the Big Bash.

Bates would have been avail­able for the twenty20 cam­paign, so it is a big loss.

Vet­eran wick­et­keeper­batswoman Katey Martin will be avail­able from the sec­ond round of the one­day com­pe­ti­tion.

Otago: Bella James (c), Caitlin Blakely,

Gemma Adams, Mil­lie Cowan, Polly Inglis, Olivia Gain, Sophie Gray, Saf­fron Wil­son, Eden Car­son, Emma Black, Ma­rina Lam­plough, Sophie Older­shaw.

Can­ter­bury: Frankie MacKay (c), Sarah As­mussen, Missy Banks, Nat Cox, Kate Ebrahim, Ge­or­gia Edge, Emma Kench, Laura Hughes, Al­lie Mace­Cochrane, Jac­inta Sav­age, Jess Sim­mons, Kate Sims, Gabby Sul­li­van.

The White Fern has been in Aus­tralia work­ing as a com­men­ta­tor.

And fel­low in­ter­na­tional Hay­ley Jensen is on stand­by for the Big Bash in Aus­tralia and is not ex­pected to be avail­able for the Sparks un­til later in the sea­son.

Cum­ming hopes Jensen will be avail­able for the Sparks’ open­ing twenty20 game against Auck­land, at Molyneux Park on De­cem­ber 28.

The Sparks wel­come back Polly Inglis. She missed last sea­son but has re­turned from the United King­dom and will bol­ster the team’s ex­pe­ri­ence.

For­mer Auck­land player Gemma Adams has moved down to Dunedin to study and is a tal­ented right­arm pace bowler and hard­hitting top or­der batswoman.

Nel­son all­rounder Saf­fron Wil­son also joins the squad this sea­son. She is a right­arm medium pacer and will slot into the mid­dle of the bat­ting or­der.

Emma Black will spear­head the at­tack again, while the hard­hitting opener, Mil­lie Cowan, is back for an­other cam­paign, as is the ex­pe­ri­enced Caitlin Blakely.

‘‘We are a lit­tle bit un­der­done game­wise. We’ve only played a cou­ple of [pre­sea­son] games but we’ve been very lucky that we’ve been training on grass down at the Uni­ver­sity Oval and work­ing re­ally hard.

‘‘We are ex­cited about get­ting bet­ter every game and we are try­ing to set up an environmen­t where we can get bet­ter and work hard.

‘‘But I’m ex­cited and I think we will do well this week­end.’’

The Sparks were win­less in the Hally­bur­ton Johnstone Shield last sea­son but had a stronger squad in the twenty20 cam­paign and made the elim­i­na­tion fi­nal.

 ?? PHOTO GRE­GOR RICHARD­SON ?? Gath­er­ing seam . . . Otago Sparks coach Craig Cum­ming re­trieves some balls dur­ing a training ses­sion at Logan Park ear­lier this week.
PHOTO GRE­GOR RICHARD­SON Gath­er­ing seam . . . Otago Sparks coach Craig Cum­ming re­trieves some balls dur­ing a training ses­sion at Logan Park ear­lier this week.

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