In Modern Sports, coaches play a significant role in shaping a team’s performance and as such, in the 21st century, there has never been greater emphasis placed on coach selection. In this blog we have researched Top 10 Cricket Coaches in the history of the game, who have left profound impact with the teams they have managed.
The basic purpose however, remains the same: to share their experience to youngsters, guide them in the right direction, identifying developmental areas of improvement, making them mentally and emotionally strong, set up their training drills, and workout routines.
The key development for coaches at club level is to build strategies and game plans according to the situation and conditions to really nurture a player whilst talent spotting for those showing the promise of international caliber – it is very difficult to coach an international player after a certain age and experience, molding someone’s technique at 35 isn’t a great idea nor will a player be willing as they will feel their technique was good enough to get selected, why change it? So, coaches now play the role similar to that of a football manager where they get to decide who’ll play and when as well as define each players’ role.
Coaching tests your patience and skills as a person. We have seen thoroughly talented players struggling as a coach yet individuals with no experience of the game regarded as best coaches of the world. Here are my Top Ten Great Cricket Coaches who inspire me as a cricket fan but also have cemented their place globally as the most sought after.
Almost all of Australia’s achievements have been with him at the helm. He is the only coach to have won two Cricket World Cups and a Champions Trophy. Many cricket pundits undervalue his services as a coach because they believe the Australian team of his era could have been coached by anyone and the results would have been the same, I disagree, his ability to bring together players and make them a team is his success.
John Buchanan aka Buck was a university professor and only played 7 first-class matches for Queensland between 1978-79 but he was the first coach who took Queensland to glory in the 1994-95 season of the Sheffield Shield. After the 1999 world cup, John was appointed the coach of the Kangaroos. He particular brand of coaching emphasized on focusing his talks on self-motivation – this was not always fully embraced with him facing backlash from his own players particularly Shane Warne.
After 8 years, in 2007 he left Australian coaching with 26 test series win and a success rate of 77%. Later He worked with England and then as New Zealand’s director of cricket from 2011 to 2013 but didn’t have much success. He was also the Head Coach of Kolkata Knight Riders for the first two seasons of the IPL and proposed a “Four Captain” theory which was totally rejected.
He is known for his long-term planning and unorthodox ways of coaching. He believes the world is yet to understand his psychology of Cricket Coaching. This is one the biggest reason why we have included in this esteemed list of best cricket coach of all time.
Probably the most animated of coaches in the game; one can judge match situation while looking at his face! Mickey left his cricketing career in 2001 with 110 first-class and 150 A list games at an average of 33.45 & 26.76 respectively. In 2005 he was given the charge of coaching the South African team. Mickey alongside Graeme Smith built a strong team that threatened every team in first class cricket. After 4 years of limited success, he parted ways with them and went onto become the first foreign-born kangaroos’ coach but had a forgettable, controversial time with Aussies who sacked him in 2013. In May 2016 he was appointed the Pakistan cricket team coach. Under his coaching, Pakistan won their famous Champions trophy against India in 2017. He had a relatively good time with the shorter format of the game as the Pakistani team reached the number 1 rankings in the T20 format. He focused on a young team and this produced results. He wanted to continue his career with the Pakistani team, however, failing to qualify for the 2019 world cup semi-finals soon ended his run with them.
Mickey is known for his strong player management and strict fitness criteria, he is currently serving as the Sri Lankan team coach.
Born in India he played for England and coached both the South African and Pakistani cricket teams. Sadly, just a day after Pakistan were knocked out of the 2007 Cricket World Cup in Jamaica, he passed away.
Bob Woolmer redefined the coaching manual with his coaching techniques and methods. He was famous for his aggressive approach and infamous for making reverse sweep more common. In 1994 he was made the coach of South Africa, they won 10 out of 15 test series during his tenure. Unfortunately, he left after the South Africans missed out at their world cup Final in 1999. In 2004 he was appointed the Pakistani team coach. Under his coaching, Pakistan won test series against both India and England at their home ground.
He was labeled as “Laptop coach” in Pakistan for introducing modern-day technology to assess the players. He’ll be remembered for his honesty and for the love of the game he had. He was Awarded with Pakistan civilian award ‘Sitara-e-Imtiaz” for his services towards Pakistani Cricket, and considered by most of the Pakistani fan amongst top cricket coaches in the world.
Bob Woolmer has written several fantastic books on cricket coaching. You can find & purchase his awesome books from below links.
A great batsman and even greater coach, Gary was given charge of the Indian team in 2008 who had one of their worst performances during their world cup run in 2007. When Gary came in with his bold ambitions and ideas, even the Indian team and board had a hard time accepting and believing in it. But, under his coaching he transformed their fortunes and the Indian team reached the top ranking in ODI and tests. He turned his critics into fans as he led them from the front. Players considered him as an elder brother as he was so involved with them, even in training camps he too participated in the training. In the 2011 World Cup, he gave the Indians their favorite memory of him as a coach when they finally managed to lift a world cup after 28 long years. Dhoni believes Gary was the best thing ever happened to Indian Cricket.
He has also go on to coach South African team taking them to the number 1 position in test rankings and in July 2013 Kirsten decided to step down. The highlights of his time with them were away series wins against England and then Australia
If you are Gary Kirsten fan, you can enjoy his autobiography
He was given the task to build an ODI team for England after they failed to qualify for the knockout round in World Cup 2015. To say he was successful is an understatement, as in 2019 the partnership of Trevor Bayliss and his captain Eoin Morgan saw them crowned World Cup Champions for the first time in Cricket ODI history. Before this outstanding win, with Bayliss, England also won the 2015 ashes and reached the final of the 2016 T20 world cup.
Prior to coaching England, Bayliss had vast experience in coaching, his coaching career started in 2007 with Sri Lanka after he replaced Tom Moody as Head coach and took them to the number 2 position in test rankings with the team also qualifying for the finals of 2009 T20 and 2011 ODI world cup.
He led Sydney Sixers in the 2011-12 Big Bash season and also took the responsibility of a struggling Kolkata Knight Riders side guiding them to two IPL titles. Moreover, Bayliss CV has two Sheffield Shield wins too, forcing his place in the list of top cricket coaches.
He is famous for bringing calmness to the dressing room and criticized for a relaxed coaching style but, with his success with all the teams he has coached, this approach clearly is appreciated and the results speak for themselves. Currently he is the coach for yet another IPL team, the Sun Risers Hyderabad.
One of the few cricketers that is not only a great batsman but also a great coach. Andy Flower is a Zimbabwean legendary wicket-keeper opening batsman. He started his international coaching career as an assistant coach for England in 2007, becoming their head coach in 2009. England won their first major Cricket title of 2010 T20 world cup under his coaching. On 13 August 2011 Flower led the England cricket team to become the number one test ranked team. He also successfully led England to Ashes victory in 2009(2-1), 2011(3-1) 2013 (3-0).
On 31 January 2014, Flower stepped down as head coach, of England. He continued his employment with the England and Wales Cricket Board as its ‘Technical Director of Elite Coaching’ for the purpose of mentoring English county coaches.
Flower was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honors List for Services to Sport. In December 2011, he was also awarded the 2011 Coach of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, and as a result he earned his place in this list of top cricket coaches.
The only coach on our list to win a world cup as a player and as a coach. Darren Lehmann as a player was a handy all-rounder for Australia. He played 27 tests and 117 ODI’s before retiring in 2007 and then being appointed as Australia coach three weeks before the 2013 Ashes. He regathered the scattered troops of the Kangaroos helping them lift the 2015 World Cup on their home ground. His Ashes record is 2-2, won two and lost two. His tenure came to a controversial end when he felt no choice but the leave amongst the ball tempering saga that came to light during their South African tour.
Besides international coaching, Lehmann served as coach to the Deccan Chargers, Queensland, and Kings XI Punjab. Currently, he is the Brisbane Heat coach for the upcoming Big Bash season.
If you are Darren Lehmann fan as a coach, I am sure you you will like his book Coach.
The longest-serving coach of New Zealand, Mike Hesson‘s decision to make Brendon McCullum the captain transformed the previously ‘cool and calm’ Kiwi’s to exciting and explosive competitors on the world stage. Under his coaching, New Zealand played their maiden world cup final in 2015.
Hesson is probably the only one on the list who started his professional career as a coach rather than as a player and that too at the age of just 22. His career began with a seven-year apprenticeship as Otago cricket club’s director of coaching in 1996. In 2003 he was made assistant coach of Otago team and a year later he was made head coach. Under his coaching, Otago won their first One-day tournament in 2007-08 after a long wait of 20 years. He also coached the Argentine team for 8 eight months in 2003 who were struggling with 31 consecutive defeats, they finally managed to taste victory under his guidance.
He was given the command of the Kenyan Cricket team for two years in 2011 but resigned in 2012 due to security concerns. Later, he replaced John Wright as New Zealand Coach. He is a fine example of professionalism and showed the world that you can be successful without having playing the game at a professional level – hard work and dedication is the key to any success in any field.
Duncan had a dream debut in international cricket leading the Zimbabwean side in their first international match. Fletcher scored with 69 not out; took 4 wickets for 45; he was Man of the Match and Zimbabwe upset the Australian in the 1983 world cup.
He started his coaching career in South Africa with Western Province and the team won the Currie Cup. He got another offer from Glamorgan and that team won the tournament in his first season as coach after 28 seasons. Everyone was surprised when he took over from David Lloyd as England’s team coach as, up to that point, he has no international test experience.
England’s first victory under Fletcher came against his own nation, Zimbabwe. Following this, England continued to show progress under his reign by winning the Wisden Trophy after 31 years by 3-1. His tactics worked for England in Pakistan during the England- Pakistan series. Fletcher used a technique named ‘forward press’ which helped them in playing against Saqlain Mushtaq and as a result they won the Test series in Pakistan after 39 years. England also won test series against Sri Lanka and South Africa. At one point, England had a winning streak of 8 test matches.
Fletcher’s greatest achievement to date came in 2005 when England regained Ashes in 2005 after 18 long years. He was honored with Order of British Empire, following with the John Bromley Medal for the Male Coach of the Year. Giving us one more reason to include him in this list of top cricket coaches.
He was appointed Indian Team coach on the suggestion of Gary Kirstin but he didn’t get the success he hoped for at the start. India suffered whitewashed in his earlier assignments. However, they later they won 2013 won champions trophy under his coaching.
1-Davenell ‘Dav’ Watmore
Dav Whatmore got more popularity as a coach than as a player. He won the World Cup with Sri Lanka, U19 world cup within India in 2008, had amazing performances with Bangladesh and Asia Cup with Pakistan. He is known for keeping things simple and not over-complicating them.
Davenell Whatmore is a Sri Lankan-born former Australian cricketer and current coach. Whatmore played 7 Test matches and 1 One Day International and coached Sri Lanka in two separate spells, 1995-1997 during this he won the 1996 Cricket World Cup and 1999-2003. In the time between, he coached Lancashire where he won the National League in 1998 and 1999, and the NatWest Trophy in 1998.
During his spell at Bangladesh between 2003-2007, they did wonders. A team that rarely won anything was transformed into a fighting spirit and haunted every top-ranked team. Whatmore coached them to their first Test match victory early in 2005. Later that year Bangladesh shocked the World by defeating the Mighty Australians. In the 2007 Cricket Cup they stunned everyone by eliminating India, a match Indians are still trying to forget. This gives us enough good reasons to rank him at #1 in this esteem list of top cricket coaches.
He was appointed Pakistan coach in 2014 and won the Asia Cup after defeating Bangladesh in the final. In 2014 he was hired by the Zimbabwean team but later sacked in 2016. Whatmore also served as Kolkata Knight Riders coach from 2009 to 2012 but failed to make an impact.
So, here are my best cricket coach of all time, do you agree or think other coaches should have featured in this list of top cricket coaches?
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