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Carl Crowe on his experience of global T20 leagues.
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Former Leicestershire man Carl Crowe has compared the journey towards becoming a top level cricket coach to that of enjoying a successful career as a player, as he explained to the PCA during its ongoing Futures Week.
Crowe, 43, appeared 83 times for the Division Two county across all formats between 1995-2009, whilst simultaneously representing Berkshire in the Minor Counties Championship.
Since making his final first-class appearance just over a decade ago, the off-spinner has made a name for himself as one of the world’s best coaches, working with T20 franchises around the world on a regular basis.
For Crowe, though, the coaching journey began long before his retirement from the professional game, when he was starting out as a young player at Grace Road in the mid-90s.
“The first couple of winters of my senior career I stayed at home, unlike a lot of the lads in the squad, and ended up coaching a few of the Leicestershire juniors,” Crowe recalls.
“Straight away, I enjoyed seeing the lads develop and watching the young guys work hard on their game. I would say I took as much enjoyment from it as playing, really, right from the start.
“It’s a great way of being involved in the game because I just love cricket and, if I wasn’t playing, I just wanted to be coaching.
“By the end of my career, I had already gone down the path of coaching so the PCA’s role was more supportive. They would always be keen to direct me towards courses.”
One of the biggest developments in the game during Crowe’s playing days was the introduction of the T20 format by the England & Wales Cricket Board in 2003. At that time, Crowe was Leicestershire’s PCA rep, and he recalls the first time he was made aware of the new proposal.
“I was Leicestershire’s PCA rep back in the day and I remember the first meeting where the ECB came to talk to the players about the potential for T20.
“It was met with a lot of negativity in the room. A lot of the players were grumbling. But look where it is now.”
The shortest format has certainly turned out to play a key role in Crowe’s professional career. Although he only made one T20 appearance during his playing days, making nine against Derbyshire in 2009, he has since gone on to coach T20 franchises in tournaments such as the IPL, CPL, Vitality Blast and more.
“I’ve been involved in pretty much every big tournament now – the best of it has been brilliant.
“I think all the leagues are great for different reasons. The IPL is crazy – the grounds are always full and the noise is just incredible. It’s incredibly intense but definitely fun. You really have to adapt your skills to work in each separate league.
“I’m also really excited for the Hundred – I think it’s going to be great. We’ve got a really good squad at Manchester Originals and I’m working with Simon Katich who I’ve been with at two or three different teams, so it’s great to work alongside people you know.
“I love working with the best players but it’s still coaching. I just appreciate being involved in the game at all levels, really.”
Crowe has carved out something of a niche for himself in being known for his ability to remodel suspect bowling actions. Sunil Narine, who was picked up for £125,000 by Oval Invincibles in the recent Hundred draft, is amongst the high profile names to have benefited from his expertise.
“I think it’s one of a number of key skills I’ve learned over the years. If I’m really honest, I think every coach should be able to do it if they have a good understanding of technique and biomechanics.
“Sunil Narine is probably the most high profile guy I’ve worked with. I don’t see him so much any more because his action has become pretty smooth but I still hear from him regularly.
“I’ve worked with a couple of high profile players and on the back of that you get more and more people wanting to work with you. So it’s definitely something that has helped to raise my profile a little bit.”
It’s unsurprising that many PCA members who have spent years playing the professional game aim to go into a second career in coaching. Crowe, however, is keen to warn current players of complacency when it comes to that particular career transition.
“Although it looks like I’ve had a successful coaching career, I spent years and years working in schools, rolling the nets out, working with players. It’s a result of 20 or 25 years of hard graft and that will continue.
“The most important thing for my career now was the three or four years I spent working as a PE teacher.
“Players probably don’t want to hear this but you can’t just play for 20 years and then go into the first job you want. My advice would be that you’ve got to work incredibly hard and put some serious hours in.
“It’s a similar sort of journey to a young cricketer developing in the game.”
If you’re a PCA member and are looking to build a second career, find out more about our Personal Development and Welfare Programme or contact your designated Personal Development Manager (PDM).
Keep up-to-date with the week’s activities by following the #PCAFuturesWeek hashtag on all of the PCA’s social media accounts.