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Tapping the potential Gavin Larsen
Tapping the potential Gavin Larsen

Gavin Larsen on mentoring Under-16 cricketers of Wellington School of Cricket

Three-time World Cup player and one of the most consistent performers for New Zealand in one-day cricket, Gavin Larsen, will be seen more frequently in India thanks to his role as a co-coach to young cricketers at St. John's Coaching Foundation. The youngsters will be trained by him after Wellington School of Cricket signed an exchange programme with the Foundation to give adequate exposure to the best talent and organise regular trips for cricketers in under-16 age group. The young cricketers are in Hyderabad for a few matches.

Reflecting on domestic cricket, Larsen, who is now the CEO of Wellington Cricket (which is one of the six units in New Zealand like the State Cricket Associations in India which run the game), says that it is always good for any domestic cricketer to show his mettle over a period of time before breaking into a national team. “Well, I personally feel five to six years of first-class cricket with 15 to 20 centuries in the case of a batsman are a must before the player gets the nod,” he explains. “Tim Southee is a good example of this reasoning,” he pointed out.

“The future looks bright though we still have a pool of about 150 players to pick from for the national squad. The grounds have improved to a great extent and so also the exposure levels now for the players,” says Larsen on cricket back home.

The former New Zealand international felt that the biggest concern for world cricket is the security aspect. “This is a major headache for administrators the world over,” said Larsen.

He admires Greg Chappel for the “sheer pleasure” the Australian brought with his batting. “For brute power, Sir Viv Richards should be the other one. My own teammate then Martin Crowe was one of the great batsmen of his era with no weaknesses at all,” he said to a query.

On IPL, Larsen said T-20 had become an integral part of any country's cricket even while it was the responsibility of the respective national Board to ensure the sanctity of the traditional Test match cricket which remains the ultimate test for any cricketer.

Talking of cricket, Larsen believes that Sachin Tendulkar is not only the greatest cricketer of all time but also a complete human being.

“There is very little left to say about Sachin's batting since so much has been written over the years. But what strikes me the most is his humility,” Larsen said. The 47-year-old Larsen who featured in 121 one-dayers with 113 wickets in 90s, recalls an unforgettable incident. “I was waiting at the back gate of Lord's in England one year ago. Suddenly, I saw a big car zoom past me and stop a few yards ahead of me. It was a pleasant surprise when I saw Sachin get down from the car, in which he was accompanied by his wife and son, exchange a few pleasantries before leaving the scene. He could have just ignored me,” says an excited Larsen.

V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

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