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Pont: Test pedigree isn't everything

ENGLAND are looking for a bowling coach, and Allan Donald, the former Warwickshire and South Africa paceman, has already been put in the frame to replace Ottis Gibson, but Ian Pont is an interesting candidate on what is likely to be a long list.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

While Donald was a renowned fast bowler in his time, he would certainly not have the coaching experience of Pont, who would see himself more along the Troy Cooley lines. Pont is an innovator, author, coach and student of the craft of bowling for 15 years, well known to the ECB and to the national coach Andy Flower in particular.

It is difficult to guess the ECB's thinking on this. Donald has first-hand experience of Test cricket, best as a mentor, whereas Pont would be far ahead on technical expertise and perhaps better on psychology.

As author of The Fast Bowler's Bible his expertise has become widely respected. My own view is that his book is excellent, full of sensible and practical advice. There is technique theory, but not too much. The man behind Maverick Cricket, Pont has worked with Kent, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Essex and Northants as a consultant. He has coached in South Africa, mostly at the International Pro Camp in Potchefstroom, in India and the United States. In his prime as an Essex player he possessed a huge throw, and his baseball background in American major league gave him an unusually broad insight into cricket mechanics.

Pont revealed more than a hint of irritation at his image in the mainstream media when Kevin Shine and John Abrahams brought him into the national coaching programme at Loughborough to work with Gibson. "Everyone kept bloody mentioning I am 'maverick' -- due to to my business -- or that somehow I am left-field," he said. "I am in my eighth season of working with a county. I might be a visionary rather than a crackpot, not least as more and more parts of my book are being taught by ECB coaches around the country and in fast bowling camps in South Africa."

More controversially Pont added: "I am just fed up with other names getting the big 'up' when they are unlikely to even know how to construct a bowling action, let alone work out which parts might be failing. Look at how Harmy was never corrected... Everyone had a go with him and couldn't do anything."

Pont, passed over for international cricket, said he was happy with the Cooley parallel-- the Australian was similarly a journeyman in state cricket -- and he reckoned qualities on offer should mean more than how many Test matches played. But whether Pont could have made Steve Harmison a better bowler can never be proved. Even so the ECB should consider the value of someone with a wide knowledge outside 'the system'.

ENGLAND are looking for a bowling coach, and Allan Donald, the former Warwickshire and South Africa paceman, has already been put in the frame to replace Ottis Gibson, but Ian Pont is an interesting candidate on what is likely to be a long list.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

While Donald was a renowned fast bowler in his time, he would certainly not have the coaching experience of Pont, who would see himself more along the Troy Cooley lines. Pont is an innovator, author, coach and student of the craft of bowling for 15 years, well known to the ECB and to the national coach Andy Flower in particular.

It is difficult to guess the ECB's thinking on this. Donald has first-hand experience of Test cricket, best as a mentor, whereas Pont would be far ahead on technical expertise and perhaps better on psychology.

As author of The Fast Bowler's Bible his expertise has become widely respected. My own view is that his book is excellent, full of sensible and practical advice. There is technique theory, but not too much. The man behind Maverick Cricket, Pont has worked with Kent, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Essex and Northants as a consultant. He has coached in South Africa, mostly at the International Pro Camp in Potchefstroom, in India and the United States. In his prime as an Essex player he possessed a huge throw, and his baseball background in American major league gave him an unusually broad insight into cricket mechanics.

Pont revealed more than a hint of irritation at his image in the mainstream media when Kevin Shine and John Abrahams brought him into the national coaching programme at Loughborough to work with Gibson. "Everyone kept bloody mentioning I am 'maverick' -- due to to my business -- or that somehow I am left-field," he said. "I am in my eighth season of working with a county. I might be a visionary rather than a crackpot, not least as more and more parts of my book are being taught by ECB coaches around the country and in fast bowling camps in South Africa."

More controversially Pont added: "I am just fed up with other names getting the big 'up' when they are unlikely to even know how to construct a bowling action, let alone work out which parts might be failing. Look at how Harmy was never corrected... Everyone had a go with him and couldn't do anything."

Pont, passed over for international cricket, said he was happy with the Cooley parallel-- the Australian was similarly a journeyman in state cricket -- and he reckoned qualities on offer should mean more than how many Test matches played. But whether Pont could have made Steve Harmison a better bowler can never be proved. Even so the ECB should consider the value of someone with a wide knowledge outside 'the system'.

ENGLAND are looking for a bowling coach, and Allan Donald, the former Warwickshire and South Africa paceman, had already been put in the frame to replace Ottis Gibson, but Ian Pont is an interesting candidate on what is likely to be a long list.

======STOP SUMMARY=====

While Donald was a renowned fast bowler in his time, he would certainly not have the coaching experience of Pont, who would see himself more along the Troy Cooley lines. Pont is an innovator, author, coach and student of the craft of bowling for 15 years, well known to the ECB and to the national coach Andy Flower in particular.

It is difficult to guess the ECB's thinking on this. Donald has first-hand experience of Test cricket, best as a mentor, whereas Pont would be far ahead on technical expertise and perhaps better on psychology.

As author of The Fast Bowler's Bible his expertise has become widely respected. My own view is that his book is excellent, full of sensible and practical advice. There is technique theory, but not too much. The man behind Maverick Cricket, Pont has worked with Kent, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Essex and Northants as a consultant. He has coached in South Africa, mostly at the International Pro Camp in Potchefstroom, in India and the United States. In his prime as an Essex player he possessed a huge throw, and his baseball background in American major league gave him an unusually broad insight into cricket mechanics.

Pont revealed more than a hint of irritation at his image in the mainstream media when Kevin Shine and John Abrahams brought him into the national coaching programme at Loughborough to work with Gibson. "Everyone kept bloody mentioning I am 'maverick' -- due to to my business -- or that somehow I am left-field," he said. "I am in my eighth season of working with a county. I might be a visionary rather than a crackpot, not least as more and more parts of my book are being taught by ECB coaches around the country and in fast bowling camps in South Africa."

More controversially Pont added: "I am just fed up with other names getting the big 'up' when they are unlikely to even know how to construct a bowling action, let alone work out which parts might be failing. Look at how Harmy was never corrected... Everyone had a go with him and couldn't do anything."

Pont, passed over for international cricket, said he was happy with the Cooley parallel-- the Australian was similarly a journeyman in state cricket -- and he reckoned qualities on offer should mean more than how many Test matches played. But whether Pont could have made Steve Harmison a better bowler can never be proved. Even so the ECB should consider the value of someone with a wide knowledge outside 'the system'.

Posted by Charlie Randall
05/02/2010 10:34:01
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