South African fielding coach back with Afghanistan
Afghanistan have reappointed former South African first-class cricketer Ryan Maron as fielding coach, ahead of June’s challenging tour of the West Indies – and July’s one-off fixture against the Marylebone Cricket Club.
Maron worked with Afghanistan during the 2015 World Cup – and the same year’s World Twenty20 Qualifier in Ireland and Scotland. He also assisted then-Dolphins head coach Lance Klusener during South Africa’s 2015-16 domestic season.
Like in 2015, Maron is eager to impress the importance of the game’s least glamourised facet upon a characteristically unenthusiastic fielding unit.
“When I first arrived, Afghanistan were very lackadaisical – and I had to be quick in bringing an intensity they were otherwise not really used to. This rubbed off on them really well – and they took each practice and drill seriously,” Maron told Hustle Digital.
“The feedback I would give them, they really appreciated that – and looked to get better and better each time. The stats-based feedback I put into play worked well – and brought a professionalism and strong dynamic to the team.”
Afghanistan Cricket’s landscape has changed significantly since Maron’s initial contract, with former New Zealand coach Andy Moles and ex-Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq having come and gone as head coach.
The improvement of all-rounder Najibullah Zadran, who boasts an impressive average of 36.35 and 150-plus strike-rate in 57 Twenty20 Internationals, has pleased Maron, who was instrumental in rearing Zadran into a specialist point fielder.
“Najibullah is a solid number five or six batsman and, actually, reminds me of another really good left-hander, JP Duminy. He is a talented fielder, has the best arm in the team, best speed and best agility,” added Maron.
The two-month stint will see Maron work alongside fellow South African and strength and conditioning coach Jason Douglas – and newly-appointed batting coach, former West Indians batsman Phil Simmons.
“Working with Phil is going to be really good. I’m eager to take in knowledge and learn a lot from him. He obviously did good things when he was head coach of Ireland – and this new partnership should prove solid, for us and Afghanistan Cricket,” said Maron.
Maron and colleagues are determined to eventually oblige Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Atif Mashal’s recent insistence that the team climb to fifth position in the International Cricket Council’s ODI and T20I rankings.
Currently ninth, their pursuit will start on 2 June, with the first T20I at Warner Park in Basseterre, St Kitts. Two more will follow – and then three ODIs at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia.
Marylebone Cricket Club v Afghanistan will take place at Lord’s in London on 11 July.
England complete World Cup preparations with rain-affected win over Bangladesh
England start the defence of their World Cup trophy against New Zealand on Thursday.
Jos Buttler will let England’s white-ball legacy be decided by others
Eight members from the class of 2019 are in England’s 15-strong squad for the defence of their 50-over crown in India, which starts this week.
5 players to watch at the Cricket World Cup in India
England take on New Zealand in Thursday’s tournament opener.
Can England defend their crown? – World Cup talking points
The tournament takes place in India.
Middlesex relegated from Division One as Kent survive on dramatic final day
Middlesex fell just short of the victory they needed at Nottinghamshire to stay up instead of Kent.
England captain Jos Buttler believes India are favourites for World Cup
The last three editions of the Cricket World Cup – India in 2011, Australia in 2015 and England in 2019 – have been won by the host nation.
Surrey retain County Championship title after Essex batting collapse
The holders have been crowned champions for the 21st time.
Geoffrey Boycott: Everybody in Newcastle hates Mike Ashley amid Headingley links
The PA news agency understands the Frasers Group, where Ashley is chief executive, is one of the parties interested in purchasing Headingley.
Essex’s slim hopes of winning County Championship dented by Northamptonshire
Essex need at least 400 to have any chance of claiming top spot.
Matthew Mott: Jofra Archer ‘desperate to play but realistic’ ahead of World Cup
The 28-year-old is not expected to be ready to return to action until the tournament is close to a conclusion.