Learning from the master

Learning from the master

Donalds made a big impact on NZ

The sweltering heat, hovering around 33 degrees, and humidity have failed to affect his enthusiasm either evidenced by the way Donald explained seam and wrist positions to a few young New Zealand pace bowlers – Hamish Bennett and Tim Southee – on Tuesday.

Nearly three months have been passed since Donald, owner of 330 wickets from 72 Tests, joined New Zealand as the bowling consultant. A move, perhaps, prompted by the Black Caps’ sagging fortunes in Tests and one-dayers over the last few months.

The short time period might not have been enough to make a massive impact but Donald’s expertise in his craft has helped New Zealand bowlers to add a few tricks to their armoury. “He has been working with us for a while now and it’s been very good to get a few tips from a great bowler like Donald. Basically, he has been telling us about the need to develop variations, especially in the sub-continental conditions. The biggest thing we learnt from him was that fast bowling is as much about variations as outright pace,” Southee said.

Donald, who has the experience of working as the bowling consultant of England in 2007, left the champion side in Zimbabwe, Mountaineers, in mid-January after getting a call from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to join the Kiwis. New Zealand coach John Wright, who as Indian coach showed the value of having specialists working on different parts of the game, had little hesitation in proposing the name of Donald for the slot of bowling consultant as he believed a vastly experienced person like the South African can make a difference to his bowlers.

New Zealand bowlers have not exactly scorched the World Cup, except one game against Kenya, but definitive signs of improvement are there, prompting the NZC to ask Donald to stay on even after the World Cup. Skipper Daniel Vettori agreed.

“Donald was a great bowler in his playing days and it’s wonderful for the team to have him. He’s a confident man because of his exceptional achievements as a bowler and the confidence has rubbed on to our bowlers, especially Bennett and Southee. I hope he stays with us for some more time so that the young New Zealand bowlers will benefit from him,” Vettori said.