Learning a two-way process for Mason

Matt Mason will be passing on a lot of experience to the Leicestershire CCC bowlers – but says that learning will be a two-way process at the club.

Hours after signing a contract to become the club’s new Head Bowling Coach, Mason was flying out to South Africa on the ECB Pace Programme with Foxes seamer Chappell.

That allowed Mason to get to know one of his new battery of seamers well but also generally meant that he has been able to soak up further knowledge about the art of his trade.

Mason said: “It’s taken me a long time to get where I am with my bowling coaching, and I’m very passionate about it because it’s what I love to do. I’m still learning as a coach too and recently picked up a lot from the ECB Pace Programme. I am a sponge for information.

“It’s been great to get to know Zak [Chappell], I had heard lots about him and saw him a couple of times last year and have now worked with him. 

“He is a potential box office cricketer; Zak has bags of pace, skill, he’s good with the bat, athletic and a lovely lad. He has all of the attributes and now it’s about turning potential into performance. 

“My role will be to work alongside Zak and help him understand what it means to be a first-class bowler. Hopefully he’ll grow and grow and the honours won’t stop at the Pace Programme with a bit of luck. Zak has a great opportunity in the North-South series in Barbados, especially with lots of white ball fixtures on the horizon in international cricket.

With the debate focused on development, Mason gave a fascinating insight about what it takes to make that big step in professional cricket: from potential to performance.

“Zak and the younger bowlers know as well as I do that developing your career is a process and they will be working hard,” said Mason. 

“In general, it’s about managing young players’ expectations, especially in the modern game as there are so many distractions. There are agents and T20 tournaments popping up all over the world so you can get your head turned very quickly. 

“The younger bowlers can sometimes forget that it’s about spending time with your county, grafting away in the four-day game and other competitions, and learning through experiences – both failure and success. 

“Then when you get the opportunity you’re much more robust and likely to survive and thrive when you step up at a level. If you just get selected for programmes on potential, what experiences do you have to fall on if it doesn’t go so well? 

“It’s great having potential but it doesn’t really mean anything until that turns into performance. That’s a massive part of my job.” 

Another bowler who has been part of ECB programmes this winter is left arm spinner Callum Parkinson, a player Mason saw first hand last season as he took ten wickets in the Specsavers County Championship against former club Worcestershire.

“It was brilliant to see Callum perform like that, even though it was against our team at the time, because he is such a young bowler but also a great competitor,” said Mason. 

“It is always exciting when a young spinner comes through the county system and I enjoyed watching him go head to head with Ravi Ashwin. His competitive nature came through in his bowling and also the passion in his celebrations. 

“Crowey [Carl Crowe] will work with our spinners but taking 20 wickets as a unit regularly is key and we’ll be all working together towards that goal.”

* Stay tuned for the third part of the interview with Matt! Follow the Foxes and join Team Leicestershire for the 2018 season by becoming a Premium Member of the club. For further details on the advantages of joining us, please follow the link HERE

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