Matt Maynard was awarded the head coach role at Glamorgan on a full time basis after he oversaw a County Championship promotion push and an improvement in Royal London Cup form.
In his first full winter as the permanent head coach of the side, Maynard has had the chance to shape the side how he sees fit and has relished and enjoyed pre-season so far…
“Pre-season was very good, and since Christmas we’ve really upped the intensity,” said Maynard. “The bowlers are probably close to 100% now and the batsmen are pretty close too.
“I’ve been really happy with their attitudes. The fielding sessions we were having at USW in Treforest were full of energy, full of excellent skill and the number of times we are hitting the stumps and taking a look at our diving technique, they have improved and the catching is getting better.
“The real test is the first game of the season but as far as pre-season has gone I’ve been delighted, and more than anything I’ve been delighted with the attitude of the lads, they’ve been superb, they’re very keen to work hard and we need that kind of environment. We won’t get anything given to us out on the pitch and you’ve got to work for everything and that’s certainly what we’ve been preparing for with a brilliant attitude.”
“A side is determined by how they look in the field, and how they work together out there. We’ve worked on a couple of things that will hopefully keep pulling the team together. Timm van der Gugten came up with a great suggestion that he and the Holland boys have used, and we’ll now just have to see how they go, and up until now I’ve been delighted with the guys.”
Preparing for multiple formats during pre-season
The schedule of the cricket season varies across the years, but is generally based around blocks of action – this year starts with five or six games in the County Championship for most counties, while last year saw one or two games before the 50-over competition kicked in – meaning that preparation can vary across the winter to cope with the demands of multiple formats.
“We’ll have different nets set up for white-ball and red-ball practice. In white-ball there are fewer consequences, you can just go out and smack the bowlers around so we get the fields set. There’s obviously some subjectivity about whether it’s gone a bit straighter than deep mid-wicket at times, or whether he’s picked him out and it’s good to have that competition with the players.
“We’ll also white-ball and red-ball nets alongside each other, so they have different surfaces and conditions in each net they move along to within the five nets we operate. It challenges the game plan and the mind-set for each competition, going straight from red-ball to white-ball, back to red-ball, into white-ball.
“I think those practices have been pretty good but you can’t do it all the time, so sometimes you just need a solid red-ball net where everyone is working on their particular games, and then especially T20 cricket we’ve focused on as we know that was our biggest area of improvement from last year.”
“It takes time to build a good culture, but you can lose one very quickly”
Since he took the reins in the winter of 2018, Maynard has consistently spoken of developing a long-term performance culture at Glamorgan that fans can be proud of, and throughout pre-season that emphasis hasn’t changed.
As a former player himself, and with experience from around the globe, he understands how much of an impact senior players can have on the culture and the atmosphere around a team and around an entire club, and is keen to keep building on the work started last year.
“In terms of setting the standards and the culture, and how we maximise pre-season, it’s all about the players. They are the ones performing on the pitch, and so as long as their attitudes are right and they are living with the values we set as a team, we’ll be alright.
“It’s been a player-led values thing that we touched upon last year, and having more discipline around the camp, on and of the field and in practice, making sure that we have no excuses around poor wickets or whatever it is, that you crack on and get something out of it.
“In the past maybe the lads would’ve just given up and moaned and groaned but I haven’t seen any of that, it’s been terrific. Overall within the club the discipline lies with the coaches and the head coach in particular, but the other things around that, what the players want to do, we’ll support that whole-heartedly, with the bat, the ball, attitude or team values, the players are the drivers of all that and to get a good culture at the club is not easy to do.
“It takes time to build a good culture, but you can lose one very quickly. You have to be careful, your senior players have to show the right attitude towards that, following those values of the team and we are lucky we have those characters.”
Captains to carry culture forward
After stepping in for Chris Cooke after the skipper's injury, David Lloyd has been appointed as the captain of the Royal London Cup side, demonstrating throughout his temporary spell in charge many of the qualities that Maynard himself showed and the qualities he believes make a successful captain and cricketer.
"This year we’ve got a couple of good captains who will take the team forward on and off the pitch, and display the values we want around the club.
"Lloydy [David Lloyd] is a quiet captain as he goes about his business – but he’s very knowledgeable and keeps a cool head on the pitch, which is essential. He’s a Welsh lad, he’s been an understudy last year and he’s played for Glamorgan for years and loves it. He’s got that opportunity, he understands what the club stands for and he gets the history of the club.
"I think that’s really important, to be in tune with the core of the club, and it’s the same with Cooky [Chris Cooke] – they understand what the club is about and what we are trying to do and achieve, and getting clarity of roles in each format of the game is hugely important and something that Lloydy understands and believes in.
"From a coaching perspective, it’s great to work with guys who think differently to me in a number of ways but similar to me in what I would say are the important areas – culture, values team planning. I think that is absolutely essential that in those areas we are all on the same page. In future with player recruitment, we’ll have good discussions about getting the right characters in who fit with what we are trying to achieve here, and that goes for overseas players too."
Read part two of our interview with Matt Maynard here.