Simon Katich Vows to Use Coaching Experience to Make The Hundred a Success
Simon Katich has vowed to use his worldwide coaching experience to make The Hundred a success for the men’s Manchester-based team, both on and off the field.
The former Australia batsman was last week confirmed as the first coach for the new eight-team tournament, which is set to be launched in July next summer.
Katich's coaching resume features back-to-back Caribbean Premier League titles with the Trinbago Knight Riders while he has also served as an assistant coach at the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League since 2016.
The 43-year-old also captained the Perth Scorchers to their maiden Big Bash League title in his homeland and, having agreed to return to Old Trafford where he ended his first-class career in 2013, Katich can’t wait to get to work in the new 100-ball tournament.
“Being a part of something new is always exciting,” he said.
“I was a part of the first Twenty20 tournament in England in 2003, when I was playing at Hampshire, and I remember there was a lot of uncertainty about how that would go.
“We’ve seen how far Twenty20 has come since and I am confident The Hundred will follow the same lines.”
Katich will be assisted by Lancashire head coach, and club legend, Glen Chapple as well as Red Rose assistant Mark Chilton.
Their first task will be to prepare for the men’s Player Draft on October 20 – the first major sporting draft to be staged in this country.
With the tournament tipped to attract some of the biggest names in English and world cricket, Katich believes his knowledge of the international landscape will dovetail expertly with Chapple and Chilton’s local experience when they look to piece together a squad capable of challenging for the inaugural title next summer.
“Chappie was captain in my last year and being a senior player alongside him – I really enjoyed playing with him,” Katich said.
“His and Mark Chilton’s knowledge of Lancashire is really important for me, especially as I have been out of the English game for a few years now.
“I have still kept a pretty close eye on it in my roles with IPL and CPL – a big part of my role in the last three or four years has been identifying players.
“I’ve spent a lot of time over the past four years with our analyst looking over footage and watching players live while we’re coaching and see them doing certain things in certain game scenarios.
“Having my knowledge of the overseas players that are around and their knowledge of the local players will be important and hopefully we will be able to put that together when it comes to putting a squad together.”
Katich was a savvy operator as a player, earning him 56 Test caps for Australia, and while he knows on-field results will grab the headlines it is off the field where he could make an even more significant mark.
The Hundred aims to reach a new audience, as well as appeal to core cricket fans, with a new fast-paced format and world-class players testing themselves over a five-week tournament that will be televised by both Sky and the BBC.
Katich has seen the way clubs have engaged young fans around the world and is under no illusions of the responsibilities he, and his players, have to help promote the game as well as entertain.
“One thing that stood out for me in the Big Bash was the willingness of the players to sign autographs and have pictures taken with fans after the match,” he said.
“As a parent myself, that stands out - kids get attracted to the game when they get an opportunity to go out to the centre and see what the ground is like and to meet their heroes, get an autograph and have a photo with them.
“I think that’s what gets kids and families coming back. As a parent there’s nothing better than seeing that.
“That’s a vital part of any sport if it is going to survive – it has to have that engagement with the players and that’s where the players will have a big role. Having been to Lancashire before and now with Manchester that is something that I will certainly be mindful of.
“Win, lose or draw it is the easiest thing you can do as a player is give your time afterwards to engage the fans that have come to support you.”
Katich admits he does not fully know what to expect from the new format, which will include 10-ball overs, 25-ball powerplays and tactical timeouts.
“It will be interesting with tactics and innovations, I think that will evolve over time as we get used to the format, but I can see areas where new tactics will come into the game,” he said.
“If you have someone with a new ball in favourable conditions, which can happen in England, and they can bowl the first 10 balls of the match you can make an immediate impact, especially as batsmen will have to go harder earlier.
“It’s the same if you have a specialist death bowler who teams can use to close out matches in those final 10 balls. We will see. It will be interesting to see if teams draft players with that in mind.
“I think those sorts of tactics can bring a new audience to the game. Cricket lovers will want to see how it goes.
“There will be a few nuances to the game and for me it will be learning a bit more about them too. As I said, it’s new and exciting to be a part of.”
© Cricket World 2019