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Brad Zeller, Australian Women's Coach

Indoor Cricket World's exclusive interview with Brad Zeller, the Australian Women's Indoor Cricket Team's coach, continues.

PART 2

Indoor Cricket World: Is it true that the Australian Women have not lost a game with you as coach?

Brad Zeller: It is true the Women have not lost a match on my shift and in fact ever since they have toured regularly with the Mens team (from 1997), they have lost only one. That was at last year's World Cup, from which I had to withdraw as I had just purchased Indoor Sports at Toowoomba. Much to South Africa's demise though, they celebrated too hard too early over that win and only inspired the Aussie Women to hit back harder.

ICW: You've seen almost all the very best Australian women indoor cricket players, but who is the best non-Australian woman player you've seen?

BZ: There are so many players that come to mind when you make a comparison of this nature. Unfortunately many of them have the same problem with discipline and fall short in the end. Two players have impressed me more than others though, and they are Penny Brown from England and Losi Harfordfrom New Zealand. And even though I was not in South Africa I heard some very good reports about a woman called Hanri Strydom, certainly a player of the future by all reports.

ICW: What is it that impressed you the most about Penny and Losi?

BZ: Penny has a fantastic quality in that she leads from the front and refuses to be intimidated by others. Losi's best quality was her batting ability, and her approach to the game, which was no fuss. However, I did get the feeling that Losi felt if she did not get a high score when opening then the game would be over. I suspect this would sometimes lead to wrong shot selection, and against the better teams like Australia that is suicidal.

ICW: An eminent indoor cricketer recently told me, ruefully, that "only men play this game in Australia". This person was bemoaning the fact that the women's game receives less coverage and less apparent interest than the men. If this is the case, what needs to be done, and by whom?

BZ: Men will always receive more recognition and most of the women players acknowledge that. They play a different, more physical game. That's not to say they work harder because the majority don't. But promotion of the sport in general will benefit all participants, including the women, so that's worth looking at in more detail.

Any opportunity we get to publicise this sport should be taken. Take our local paper in Toowoomba, The Chronicle. They will publish anything to do with sport for no cost. A local flea race would get coverage. Their attitude is fantastic and I use it as often as I can. This is a town that has 100,000 people with another 30,000 in the surrounding areas so it is not that small. I even get our in-house results published. I know in the major cities it is not possible but I know they have local papers also (in Brisbane anyway), so lets use them. If it is a story it does not cost anything.

On a wider scale, the AICF has taken steps to develop the game at the National level: for example development squads have now been introduced for under 21 men and women. This is a great stepping stone for them to the Open teams, especially the women as in the past that next step has always been a huge one. A couple of years in, this should greatly reduce that step.

We all need to help in the quest for promotion and advertising and pass on any tips. There is too much secrecy in this industry when it comes to good ideas for fear of it actually working for somebody else. We now have web sites as another tool and I still believe sponsorship is available. Lets be realistic though, there were athletes that competed at the recent Olympics that won gold medals that still struggle for recognition. However, it is not impossible because we have a fantastic, fun and exciting product. I cannot remember the last person I spoke to that played and actually said they did not enjoy it.

Here we have a game that can provide competitions for ages 4 to 60, (yes I do have a lady in my centre that plays and is 60 years old). For that matter there is a man that is 55 this year and I swear he is one of the keenest players going around, to the point where he still has the desire to play at our Zone Titles. It is a tough area for all concerned, but no matter how small the ad or promotion it all helps.

Lets get to the public through shopping centre promotions, at local markets, whatever (just brainstorming now). Let's promote this game before it is too late. I don't think I am being too dramatic but some action needs to be taken. At the very least, a national forum with opinions from everyone being listened to and worked on from there. I'm starting to rave here, but it is an issue close to my heart. (ICW: It's okay Brad, we've been known to rave on this very issue ourselves).

To be continued . . .

In the next installment, Brad talks about coaching. If you've ever wondered just what the Australian coach does when his team is playing, check it out --- due mid-December 2001.

Brad Zeller Interview Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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