Kadeer Ali says the enforced lack of second-team cricket due to COVID-19 provided an additional chance to work closer with Worcestershire CCC’s senior coaching staff, and he admitted: “it’s been a great learning opportunity for me.”
Former New Road batsman Kadeer was appointed Second Eleven Coach last winter after a spell as a development coach with the Warwickshire CCC pathway.
Kadeer, a Level Four Coach, was looking forward to overseeing a full fixture list and working with the County’s up and coming players before the impact of the coronavirus put paid to that opportunity for 2020.
But it did give him the chance to work with Head Coach, Alex Gidman, Assistant Coach-Bowling Coach, Alan Richardson, and Head of Coach And Player Development, Kevin Sharp.
Now Kadeer is looking forward to working throughout the winter at Malvern College when the players and coaches report back in November.
He said: “The lads worked hard in the winter and I was settling in nicely, getting to know the guys, and then lockdown happened.
“It’s been a strange year, and it was a shame there was no second eleven cricket and that a few of the lads hardly played at all.
“It is what it is with the COVID-19 situation but, for me, on a personal note, I spent more time with the first team guys, helping out Alex (Gidman) and Alan (Richardson) which was an excellent experience for me.
“I built some relations there with the players which I probably usually wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do so quickly because I would have been busy with the guys in the Seconds and the planned schedule.
“It was great, spending time with Kevin, picking his brains in terms of how everything works with the Second Eleven, and being around Alex and Alan in practice and games.
“It was a great learning opportunity for me and one I enjoyed.
“Alex has got me involved in practice days, and during the Vitality Blast campaign I helped out with all the home games and then being around in the mornings, flicking (balls) to the guys and having conversations with some of the batters.”
The Seconds did manage to play a friendly against Warwickshire, and some of the players participated in ‘Worcestershire XI’ matches involving a mix of professionals not involved with the first team and Academy players.
Kadeer said: “We got in one three-day game at Edgbaston which was good. They were keen to get some cricket as well. The lads enjoyed it, and it was an opportunity to put in a performance.
“There has been some Worcestershire XI games where four or five of the lads played alongside Academy boys which was a bonus as well.
“Have I sympathy for lads not able to push for a first-team spot? I’m sure that was the case around all 18 counties. There were loads of players who did not play a lot and COVID-19 affected them more than guys in their respective first teams.
“It has been frustrating for them, and we tried to get the guys playing club cricket whenever they could alongside the opportunities with Worcestershire.
“We tried our best so, if there was an injury or a change of plan with the first team, they were as ready as possible.”