Paul Nixon Interview
Question: Tell us about your successful stints at the Caribbean Premier League?
Paul Nixon: This was my first time back there since winning it in 2011. It was slightly different where this time I wasn’t involved with the selection panels so the team was already picked. It was a case of having the pre-season a week before the tournament. I think it’s tough to change techniques in a week so it was more about changing mindsets and talking about the game, talking about the right options against certain bowlers in certain conditions. It was about getting the guys to be a little more self-aware and at the same time it was about me having an emotional connection with the players.
Question: What do you think makes a good coach?Paul Nixon: A good coach has to be passionate, he’s got to be caring about the persons he is working with and a good coach gives the players the tools for the player to work it out himself so the player understands when he was worked it out for himself.
Paul Nixon: Yes definitely. I love helping players right back to when I was a junior player and working with the kids and then mentoring younger players when I was playing in County Cricket and coaching is something that I am passionate about and I have learnt a lot from the coaches that inspired me and also from some of the coaches that I did not agree with. You try and work with all the strengths that have impressed you and you then sprinkle a bit of your own magic, with your own passion, knowledge and enthusiasm as well. Having a rounded view of the game I think it’s important. As a coach you have hard times, tough times where you have to do some soul-searching to become a success. So it makes you have some empathy with players in their various journeys. Seeing the PSL come into world cricket and the success of the tournament and listening to the players who took part in it, everybody has only got good things to say about it. For me as a coach, I would love to be involved in the PSL. I enjoyed a lot of success with Leicestershire and then in the CPL, I’ve had two competitions and both times my team has won so I’d like to think that I know what I am talking about when it comes to Twenty20 cricket and handling the energy of the team and the balance in the fun and the professionalism and creating a good spirit where we want to enjoy each other’s company, work hard but have fun also.
Question: How important is it for international cricket to return to Pakistan?
Paul Nixon: I think it’s hugely important for the cricket-loving public of Pakistan and also for the quality of the Pakistani players. For youngsters not to be able to go and watch their heroes in stadiums in Pakistan is devastating. The sooner international cricket can return to Pakistan, the better it will be. It’s about ensuring the next generation of cricketers in Pakistan get a chance to see their heroes in their country. When Pakistan does well, I’m sure the people of Pakistan go to work with a smile on their face and I saw that first hand in Leicester last year when Leicester City won the Premiership. It brought the community together, the joy on people’s faces and the buzz it generated. It was about being proud of your own city and likewise that is what the people of Pakistan need; heroes from their won cities who inspire the next generation which I think is crucial.
Question: You must have some fond memories of touring Pakistan?
Paul Nixon: Absolutely yes. Unfortunately for me Alec Stewart was a an amazing professional and I was under his shadow, but in Pakistan I got to play a couple of side matches whilst on tour. We tried to do as many trips and sightseeing as we could. We went to the Khyber Pass which was great and we went to the Prime Minister’s house in Islamabad. We went to Peshawar market and everywhere in Pakistan. I’ve got some great memories of touring Pakistan.
Question: Tell us about your work with International Cricketer’s Association?
Paul Nixon: It’s been great for me because after coming out of cricket it’s very easy for people to get shut-off from cricket. It’s giving you a lifestyle and then it suddenly stops so I think it’s important to stay involved in the game as much as you can. Professional Cricketer’s Association have several of us who are ambassadors and it’s wonderful but also ICA has seen this with the Pakistani guys and globally a lot of guys can come out of the game and be a little lost and I’ve been quite fortunate that other business etc. that I have enjoyed, but I think it’s crucial for former players to be involved in cricket as that’s our first love. ICA has a squad of 15 to 20 players and they go into communities and play against local sides and representative teams and everyone plays the game in the right way in these matches. ICA has done a lot for the guys and he looks after them well. The spirit and the camaraderie that he creates. For example for me to keep wicket to Saeed Ajmal after batting against him many times is excellent. Then there are the likes of Rana Naved and Simon Jones who were world-class fast bowlers and it’s great to keep wicket to them. We’ve had some great guys involved. You miss the dressing room when you stop playing, the fun and the banter and these matches are one way to keep that going. ICA have created this family and they want to give everyone the opportunity to play everywhere and that’s what I love about this. It’s not just about cricket matches though, there are dinners and events which have been first-class. Recently I went to Doha and I was helping coach a team with the likes of Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal in it. There were some high-class players there and to see the love for cricket in Doha was unbelievable. It was played in a 18,000 capacity stadium and it was nearly full which you cannot beat.
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