You rarely come across the words cricket and Olympics in the same sentence. In New Zealand, however, the story is a bit different, and one man has shown how the two paths can cross successfully.
The support staff of the New Zealand national team, which is participating in the tri-series along with India and Sri Lanka, includes two individuals who are closely associated with the Olympic movement.
While manager Dave Currie has been the chef de mission for two Olympics, as many Commonwealth Games and an edition of Paralympics, high performance manager Roger Mortimer is a renowned Olympic mentor.
"We are the first to be closely associated with cricket and Olympic disciplines. Whether New Zealand Cricket were right or not, the results will tell," Currie, a former wrestler and a marathon runner who has been an administrator for almost 25 years, told HT .
While Currie was appointed manager in February 2009, Mortimer, initially roped in by Currie on a part-time basis, is on his first full-time assignment.
"Within a busy programme, how you manage the players is what Roger and I are looking after," Currie said. "Sometimes you have to give them rest, sometimes to make them train, We enjoy the challenge."
So what does the duo aim to bring to the game of cricket? "To provide inspirational high performance environment," said Currie. "To make sure athletes who have given 10-15 years of their life to be successful are given a feeling that everybody around them supports them."
Having handled much larger groups of athletes before switching to cricket, Currie, a cancer survivor, finds this job easier than his previous stints.
"The cricket team is a bit easy to manage because of the volume. Most of the time, it’s just 15 players and eight support staff," Currie said. "What’s harder about cricket is the sheer intensity of the sport. I don’t think any other sport involves playing non-stop eight months a year, with so much travelling."
With the focus on the next year’s World Cup, New Zealand are slated to tour Bangladesh and India soon. However, Currie will miss the first leg, as he will be New Zealand’s chef de mission for the Commonwealth Games to be staged in New Delhi.
"It’s going to be difficult leaving the cricket team, it's an important time for us," said Currie. "But I had committed for the Delhi assignment before I took the role with New Zealand Cricket. NZC understands that."