“An amazing experience” was how Worcestershire Assistant Head Coach, Kadeer Ali, described his involvement as part of the England Young Lions coaching set-up for the recent tour of Australia.
Kadeer was appointed Batting Coach for a pre-Christmas training camp in Abu Dhabi and the two Under-19 Tests, three ODIs and one T20I Down Under in the New Year.
He seized the opportunity to pick the brains of Young Lions Head Coach Michael Yardy, a former England Under-19s team-mate, and the rest of the coaching staff, including Chris Brown (spin bowling), Simon Cook (fast bowling) and Chris Read (fielding).
And Kadeer also took the chance to glean information from a former Worcestershire player in Sri Lankan Thilan Samaraweera, who was Australian Under-19 batting coach.
As a result, he has enhanced his coaching knowledge and returned to New Road with fresh ideas to continue the countdown to the new domestic season.
Kadeer said: “It was an amazing experience. Being part of an England coaching team at whatever level, I’m very honoured to be involved, first and foremost.
“Experience-wise, it was fantastic to get into a new environment and, with the way England are playing at the moment, it’s a very positive set-up.
“They are trying to filter that down to every England cricket team at the moment. Great opportunity for me and, to have the chance to work with some of the best young players in the country, while up against some of the best in Australia.
“Really good to exchange information with other coaches? One hundred per cent. Having played a little bit with Michael Yardy years ago at the Under-19 level and now to work alongside now in Abu Dhabi and Australia, was brilliant just to pick his brains about batting, his philosophy, and his mindset.
“Also, people like Chris Read, Simon Cook, Chris Brown, the guys in the coaching team, were great to talk to, and just the conversations we had around the game.
“I also bumped into Thilan Samaraweera, who was the Australian Under-19 batting coach who had played for Worcestershire.
“We got chatting and had some really good conversations about batting. He’s had some good experiences with Australia ‘A’ team and Under-19s, and it was fantastic to pick his brains as well.”
Kadeer added: “Will it help my own coaching going forward? Definitely, that’s what you want to do as a coach; keep developing and any opportunity you get, to evolve as a coach.
“But it’s also good to come back to Worcestershire with fresh ideas and fresh thoughts from seeing other coaches around the world and watching the games in different conditions.
“You just pick off stuff you think is going to benefit you and Worcestershire.”
Regarding the battles between the two sides, Kadeer said: “It was really competitive, two good balanced sides.
“The first Test was so close, and we won it with a run out after it was tense when they were nine down, needing about another 20 runs.
“A fantastic game. In the second game, we were behind on day one, and didn’t get much of a total, but then we showed a lot of character in the second innings.
“Very competitive, very close. Most of the games could have gone either way.”
Kadeer is relishing his new role at New Road after previously being Seconds Coach.
He said: “It’s been superb. A lot of the guys have been playing abroad, but the ones who have been around have been excellent.
“We’ve had some really good sessions, and I’ve been proud to be promoted to Assistant Coach.”