Monday, November 9th, 2015

Enthusiasm Still Burns Brightly For Norman In Coaching Capacity

Enthusiasm Still Burns Brightly For Norman In Coaching Capacity

He might be past his 75th birthday but Norman Gifford remains an integral part of the Worcestershire set-up and still has that boyish enthusiasm which marked his many years as a player at New Road.

Norman is one of the very few players to have featured in three County Championship squads for Worcestershire – in 1964, 1965 and then 1974 when he was skipper.

And now he is passing on the spin bowling skills which yielded an incredible 2,068 first class wickets to the County's bowlers in his part-time capacity as spin bowling coach.

Gifford said: "I love it. To play as long as I played you've got to be in love with the game. That has carried on. I've always enjoyed watching cricket and if you can get involved, and I've been lucky to be involved on the coaching side as well, the for me, it's just lovely.

"People say the game changes, which it does and it moves on, but I think the excitement of seeing people starting off on their careers and thinking 'I wonder where he'll finish up' and 'how good is he going to be' drives you on.

"If you watch enough cricket and see people and sometimes you'll label them and think 'he'll play county cricket, or an even higher level than that', that side of it excites me a little bit.

"If I go and work with the youngsters and see a 10, 11, 12 year-old and you wonder 'I wonder if he will do what I think he might do' that for me is as exciting as just sitting and watching."

Gifford added: "How big an involvement do I have at Worcestershire? A couple of hours here and there and, if the first team or seconds are practicing, they will probably have me in for a couple of hours in the nets with them.

"But if you working with these boys, at times you need to watch them play as well. Hence I like to come down, and I'll watch all day sometimes.

"Even that is a pleasure, just coming down sitting and watching. I moved back up from Sussex just over four years ago so this is my fifth year back with the county."