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Jim Taylor - was pretty late in the piece, in 2001...when I was 27 Jimmy helped me immensely with my bowling and (more importantly) fitness that year. He was trained in sports science as well as being a very good coach. Was good at keeping your mind on the job and helped out with little bits here and there to do with technique to ensure I bowled faster than I had before. I think he coached Aus U/19's at one stage when Hayden etc came through so he was handy!
My Uncle - Len...I'm not sure where my bowling action came from, but I assume it was helped by the backyard cricket sessions with my uncle. Len used to have a game with me after work, and put up with the fits of laughter that consumed me on the odd occasion I'd hit him in the family jewels from about 8 metres away once I became fast enough from that distance for it to be a dangerous option (and no it wasn't when I was 23 ).
Junior coaches...can't remember a lot but they must have helped somewhere. Went to Adam Gilchrist's dad's cricket camp when I was 14, apologies to the coach there who suggested I bowl leg-spin...I should have taken you up on it!
got taught by my Dad even thought he had never played supprisingly he was better that any coach I ever had he sort of just watched good bowlers bowl and taught me to bowl at the same lenght etc
I've known Graeme since I was in nappies (and no, that wasn't last year). Our families were living in different cities from when I was 5 until he was 11, but we met up for holidays and me and his two sons would play cricket from dawn to dusk. Finally, when we moved to Dunedin when I was 11, I used to go to the nets quite often with Graeme and his sons (one of which I was going to school with).
Graeme had many things going in his favour - he was a cricket historian (he has a cricket library room in his house), he had a V12 which he would occasionally let us use, and he bowled off-spin, which I did at the time too.
He coached our third form team, and the team of his other son, who was two years older - and one day, when a dodgy pitch made a ball of mine turn from leg to off (it hit a sprig mark...), he suggested I give leg-spinning a go. He also encouraged me to open the batting that year, which I did with minimal success, but I at least took the shine off the ball.
Graeme went on to spend 7 years as the chief executive of the Otago Cricket Association, and was instrumental in the redevelopment of the University Oval to the point where it will host its first test this summer when NZ play Bangladesh. He was made a life member of the OCA earlier this year, I believe, and will undoubtedly spend the first day of the test in the Long Room (which he made sure was part of the redevelopment, being the cricket lover that he is.
I had heard about Billy through Graeme and his sons, who both attended Billy's coaching school. It wasn't cheap, and my parents weren't thrilled about stumping up, but did it make me a better leggie? Hell, yes. Billy was willing to put time into guys who were happy to do likewise - I'd walk 5km to his coaching clinic after school, bowl for 2 1/2 hours straight, then walk home and he wouldn't charge me for those sessions as I bowled suitcase after suitcase of cricket balls down the pitch. He gave me other opportunites, such as bowling alongside a young Saqlain Mushtaq to Saleem Elahi when the Pakistani side was in Dunedin in 1996, and encouraged me to play for a club rather than wallow in my school's second XI, which saw me make my debut at Dunedin senior level at age 16, taking 1/31 off 8 in my first stint. I never realised the potential I think Billy believed I had, but I'm very grateful.
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