Cricket: Starlets tap into Nixon's expertise
Paul Nixon has been there and done just about everything there is to do in first-class cricket.
So it is little wonder that a group of young players from Bangalore could not wait to get stuck into a coaching session with the Leicestershire legend at the City Cricket Academy.
The 15-strong group from the Karnataka Institute of Cricket are spending a fortnight in this country to learn about playing in English conditions. A group from the Academy will visit India in the new year.
"For me, it is about passing on the knowledge, the gold dust, of what playing county cricket and playing for England teaches you," said Nixon, as he prepared to work with the 11 to 16-year-old players.
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"The contrast between playing in the two countries is unbelievable.
"For a start, whenever you play in India it is like being in a sauna, you are always dripping in sweat.
"The pitches are very different. Generally the bounce is pretty low, which makes it harder to hit the ball straight. Players who play well square of the wicket will always score runs in India."
Nixon worked on batting technique with the boys, breaking down a series of shots, but also spoke about their mental approach to cricket – something that was always an area of massive strength in his own game.
"I want the lads to understand when they are playing well," he said. "I want to leave them with the tools and the knowledge so that they can coach themselves and each other."
Irfan Sait is the coach in charge of the students and he has welcomed the Leicester link put in place with City Academy director Don Bhagawati.
"We have been coming to England since 2004 and each year we have played matches," said Sait. "But because of the weather sometimes, we played only three or four games – and some of those were truncated. That was a huge disappointment.
"So now we are looking at getting the boys trained by English coaches.
"That will not only give them different ideas about technique but also English thinking on tactical matters and mindsets. It is really working out well.
"The boys are quite excited about working with Paul Nixon.
"He is a big name who has played first-class cricket for 20 years, and also for England in the World Cup.
"If the boys can imbibe the way that Paul played his cricket, then they will be successful."