The Canterbury tales of Thoraipakkam

A bunch of young Kiwi cricketers train in India, under the watchful eyes of Gary Stead and Amol Muzumder, to understand the nuances of spin.

The young New Zealand cricketers lend their ears to the words of former Mumbai skipper Amol Muzumder at the Cricket Drome premises in Okkiyam Thuraipakkam in Chennai on Friday.   -  SHAYAN ACHARYA


As a bunch of young cricketers from New Zealand finished their four-hour training session on Friday morning, they rushed to the changing room. Sweat trickling down their tees, the cricketers wanted to cool off a bit before heading towards the hotel. It’s their fourth day in Chennai and the soaring temperature has been an area of concern. Even though the sun decided to make way for clouds on the morning of Ganesh Chaturthi, the humidity was unbearable. Even then, the gang from Canterbury Cricket Club (New Zealand) ensured they had a field day.

In association with the Global Cricket School, the club is hosting a camp here to help its players get used to playing spinners.

Under the watchful eyes of its coach, Gary Stead (former New Zealand cricketer), the young guns batted for hours.   -  Shayan Acharya


Under the watchful eyes of its coach, Gary Stead (former New Zealand cricketer), the young guns batted for hours. They also received inputs from an Indian. To help them out with spin problems, former Mumbai captain Amol Muzumder has joined the side as a batting consultant.

As the local rookie spinners bowled to the Canterbury batters at the Cricket Drome premises in Okkiyam Thoraipakkam on the outskirts of Chennai, Stead and Muzumdar had a close look at them. If a smart drive earned Kiwi cricketers praises, they were also pulled up if they mistimed a delivery. “You earn from every loose ball. Don’t forget, the bowler is actually giving you a chance to score,” Muzumder told the cricketers as they took a short break.

The exchange of words, however, yielded results soon after, as the Canterbury cricketers hit back on the rookie net bowlers. “It is definitely a different condition, so we are trying to figure out how to score runs here,” one of the batsmen, Harry Chamberlain, said.


Even coach Stead, who played five Tests for New Zealand in 1999, believes this training would help his boys get accustomed to newer conditions. “The climate is different in India and that’s the part of coming here. It’s much of a learning opportunity for the cricketers,” Stead told Sportstar.

And since it rains heavily in most part of Western India, Chennai has been chosen as the destination for being ‘relatively dry’. “It normally happens in December-January. In August it rains in Mumbai, so we had to do it in Chennai, where rains are lesser. It is a good experience of guiding these young talents,” Muzumdar said.

Being accustomed to wickets in India, Muzumder — who has previously worked with the South Africa A side — watched every batsman closely and passed on his inputs to Stead. “Coming to India is about thrusting yourself as to how you play spin and that’s what we are trying to get with our guys. For me, India is a great start to come and learn. It is so different from the conditions back home,” Stead added.

With the domestic season set to get underway in October, the outing in India could be beneficial for the Canterbury cricketers. And perhaps, that’s why, even as the hot and humid conditions in Chennai throw challenges at them, the young guns face it with ease.

As if it’s just another ‘loose ball’!

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