Nurturer of talent thinks future bright

Otago Cricket Association talent, development and pathways manager Adam Miles watches the Volts train at the University of Otago Oval yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Otago Cricket Association talent, development and pathways manager Adam Miles watches the Volts train at the University of Otago Oval yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Adam Miles intended to spend six months playing cricket in Dunedin while he was writing his master's thesis.

Fast forward five years and the Briton has just landed arguably the most important role at the Otago Cricket Association.

His official title is something like manager of talent, development and pathways. But essentially the 28-year-old is responsible for nurturing the region's talented cricketers.

He will coach the Otago A and Otago under-19 sides and also assist with the under-17 team and the Volts wider playing group.

Not bad considering he was just trying to avoid a rainy winter in Cardiff.

''I had finished my undergrad and started on my master's and I had a six-month write-up period for my thesis. I figured spending sometime overseas would be better than sitting in Cardiff watching it rain,'' he said.

He had met former Otago batsman Michael Bracewell while at the MCC young cricketers programme at Lord's in 2009, so that was his link to Otago.

Through that connection he was able to secure a role as a player-coach for North East Valley Cricket Club and as a community coach for the OCA.

The six-month sabbatical stretched into a much longer stint when he got an opportunity to do a PhD in sport psychology through the University of Otago.

He focused his studies on athlete development and will graduate in December, so he is very well qualified for the job with the long description.

But if you ask Miles, a lot of the hard work has already been done.

''Over the last couple of years Simon Forde has put a great template in place for talent development in Otago,'' he said.

''And I guess with this role it gives someone a bit more time to spend in those pathway systems ... and thinking strategically about how we do grow our talent base.''

''The under-19s and the A programme has grown substantially over the last couple of years and it is in a really good space where we can push [some of the Volts players].''

The Volts have struggled during the past two seasons. The team has finished last in six of the past five tournaments, so it could use some help.

But Miles believes there ''is a lot of reasons to feel optimistic''.

''I don't think the results on the pitch reflect the talent we have in the group and, having been here five years, I think the depth of talent is increasing

''It is going to be great long-term and it is only a matter of time before we do [better] at Volts level but also across our age-groups as well.''

Miles has a solid cricket background. A wicketkeeper, he played five first-class games, including two for Otago in October, 2015.

That playing experience has stood him in good stead as he has made the transition from player to coach.

He already has a title on his resume, having coached the Otago team to victory at the national under-19 tournament in Lincoln in 2016.

 

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