Melbourne born, Rob Cassell, was appointed assistant head coach and national fast bowling coach for Cricket Ireland in 2017. This year, at the end of his three year contract, he was offered a similar position with the Rajasthan Royals. After several months delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the group have now met in Dubai and are preparing for the delayed competition in the UAE commencing on 19th September.
Rob is well qualified for his role. He represented Australia at the 2002 Under-19 World Cup, was a Victorian and South Australian bowler and coached for South Australia for five years (2012-17). During that time, he developed what could be described as the best bowling group in the country and helped the state to reach two finals of the Sheffield Shield.
The IPL delay allowed Rob to return to Victoria for a few months with family and friends, enabling me to ask for his thoughts on a few aspects of his roles which he has generously shared for us all.
BOWLING AND COACHING MENTORS/INSPIRATIONS
I’ve worked with quite a few different coaches with my time in Victoria, SAus, Ireland and now with RR. I love coaching and have been fortunate to meet some real characters along the way and have taken ideas from all coaches of all sports. There are so many different and effective ways to teach and learn and I find the challenge of discovering what method works best for each player really enjoyable. I observe coaches of any sport closely and it all comes back to building relationships and understanding people and team dynamics and layering some tactical nous and game plans on top of that.
ROLE/TIME WITH THE IRISH TEAM
It was really great timing to move over there as they had just become a ICC Full Member. The role (Asst Head Coach and Fast Bowling Lead) had its challenges but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to understand the Irish cricket setup and there are some fantastic people involved at all levels. Some highlights were the Lords Test match and being involved in their first ever Test at Malahide v Pakistan among some other memorable tours. I was impressed with the club cricket environment and the love of the game at most club teams I visited was very clear. They need more players playing which will grow in time. The contrast between CAus and CIre was immense in terms of facilities, budgets and skill level but they made up for it with grit and passion and always seem to punch above their weight.
ASSESSMENT OF THE IRISH CRICKET TEAM ON THE WORLD STAGE
Ireland are currently a team that at their best can challenge any major nation and sometimes defeat them as evidenced by the their recent wins over WIndies, Afghanistan and England. The next challenge for them is to win series against these major teams and not just the odd match here and there which will come.
ROLE WITH THE IPL
My role with RR is to manage the Fast Bowling group in tournament and mainly work on getting them to practice and execute the tactics and strategies we have for each match. This involves understanding what the opposition batsman are going to bring and how we can either exploit weaknesses or defend against them.
LINK UP WITH MELBOURNE CC TEAMMATE, ANDREW MCDONALD
Yes two red heads from Melbourne CC!! I’ve known Macca for a long period of time and its been great to see his success as a coach over the past number of years. We both have fond memories of the club and it’s great that we are now representing Melbourne CC on the international scene.
TIME SPENT IN AUSTRALIA DURING COVID-19
It has been a tricky time for everyone in the world really and I had just resigned from my role with CIre to take up my role with RR before the pandemic struck. We’ve since returned to Australia and yes the family time has been so enjoyable. I’ve also been busy getting to know the RR fast bowlers and support staff over many video link ups. My IT skills have definitely improved but not without stuffing a few things up along the way! RR have a great group of players and staff so I am looking forward to meeting everyone in person once out of this quarantine period.
NEXT APPOINTMENT AS COACH
I’m not sure as to where my next role will be but it’s nice to be able to focus purely on my role with RR and put all my energy into that! We’ve already put a lot of work in prior to getting to UAE so hopefully we can play some solid, smart cricket and have some success.
We certainly wish Rob and the team every success in the UAE and in his future coaching roles wherever they may take him.
Pam Bishop, ACS