SHAZ Khan found the challenge of restoring a local club’s pride too tough to turn down when he was approached by Wootton Bassett.
Khan will coach and play for the Rylands Way outfit in 2013, as they bid for an instant return to the West of England Premier League following relegation last year, after being brought in by captain Darren Beasant - and the pair have big plans for Bassett over the coming years.
A top-order batsman with a graceful technique but the ability to hit big when necessary, Khan will provide a wealth of experience both in the nets and out in the middle, and he plans to pass on his passion for the game to the rest of the Bassett squad.
“As a coach I believe there is a big opportunity to take a well respected club in this area back to the top over the next few years,” he said.
“My role, I hope, will be to inject some enthusiasm and the passion that I have for the game into the players and into the club and hopefully get them back into at least Glos/Wilts and then a bit beyond that,” he said.
“My aim is to help the club progress and get it back to where it should be. Wootton Bassett Cricket Club, to me, is one of the most respected clubs in the area so if I can bring something from a coaching perspective.
“We talk about talent and ability and I think there are also a lot of people with a lot of passion to see the club do well, and that can only help.”
An important characteristic of a successful side, in Khan’s mind, is structure - and he and Beasant intend to implement exactly that at Rylands Way this season.
“I’ve played against many Bassett sides in the past and I’ve always respected them highly,” he said. “I believe we need to start playing a really good, positive style of cricket - to get back playing like they used to and have a strong team.
“I definitely think we all need to know our roles. Each individual and the team needs to know what their targets are straight away. The captain and myself would say we would like to see the club get promoted straight out of the Wilts League but we still need to know what individual objectives and aims and roles are, identify those roles and help put a structure in place.
“Pre-season is going to be very important, especially for myself as I get used to new players. Although I’ve played against these players, there are a lot at the club who I don’t really know and vice versa. It’s going to be an interesting challenge and an opportunity to get the best out of them.
“I want to get the best out of the players not just as a coach but as an individual and pass on my experience as a player and try to get them playing as a Bassett team used to play.”