The covers have come off for the final time and the 2011-12 Wellington cricket season is officially over, but for many Firebirds, including assistant coach Shane Deitz, the cricket continues overseas.
Deitz leaves shortly for the Hague in the Netherlands for two months to take up coaching roles with a leading club side and with the Dutch national team who compete in the English County Pro40 One-Day competition. The Netherlands have just been competing in the ICC World Twenty20 qualifying tournament – losing to eventual competition winners Ireland in the knockout stages.
“I am working with two teams,” Deitz explained. “Firstly with the Dutch National team in the County One-Day competition. I am there for the first eight games as an assistant coach and am also in charge of tactics for opposition players.
“I’ll be looking to watch other teams and working with different coaches to hopefully pick up some ideas or strategies that we could use here in Wellington.”
"The other team I am working with is a club side called HBS. I played for them in 2008 and Grant Elliott has had four seasons there also and he will be playing there again this season."
As well as working with Grant, Deitz said that he will also be looking at re-structuring the HBS club off the field.
“They were relegated in 2010 so are looking to re-establish themselves as a top club in Holland. My role will be setting up on and off field structures to look to build a successful model which is sustainable for the future.”
Deitz said there are some familiar names in Dutch cricket.
“Their national captain Peter Borren is a New Zealand born player and appeared in some Ford Trophy One-Day games for CD this season. Their overseas player is one of my ex team mates from South Australia, Cameron Borgas. In the dutch leagues there are a few Kiwis playing. Peter Fulton, Logan Van Beek from Canterbury and Grant Elliott and Barry Rhodes from Wellington.”
Deitz also said the Firebirds players will be busy over the winter.
“Jesse Ryder and James Franklin are in the IPL. James has had a good start to that campaign in his first two hit outs, and it’s great to see Jesse back playing and I wish him well.
“Jeetan Patel is playing for Warwickshire again for a full county season. Unfortunately Holland don't play them in the Pro40 competition [in a different pool] so I won't get to see him. Harry Boam and Stephen Murdoch are playing League cricket in the north of England."
Several Firebirds are also playing closer to home this winter.
“An area we are looking to utilise this pre-season is club cricket in Darwin in Australia,” Deitz said. “Michael Pollard and Malaesaili Tugaga are playing full seasons there. Josh Brodie, Luke Woodcock, Andy McKay, Craig Cachopa, Scott Kuggeleijn and Tipene Friday will all have some stints in Darwin as part of their pre-season and development. It is great for these guys to get outdoors and play and train as we are pretty restricted in Wellington for facilities.
Deitz also says that planning for next season has already started.
"Planning for season has begun already. Guys will start training in Gyms in May and some guys start skills in June. We have started looking at our squad and contracts this week. We have reviewed all the players and now we look at ways we need to improve and how we can do things better."