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Gearing up to police India pacers

Australia's Joe Dawes, who takes charge as the bowling coach from Eric Simons after the CB Series, will have a challenging task to whip India's talented but inconsistent pace pack into shape. Amol Karhadkar reports. Know the man

india Updated: Feb 15, 2012 01:53 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Australia's Joe Dawes, who takes charge as the bowling coach from Eric Simons after the CB Series, will have a challenging task to whip India's talented but inconsistent pace pack into shape.

The former Queensland pace bowler was the bowling coach for his team as well as South Australia before landing the high-profile job. "I've worked with Trevor Penney (India's fielding coach) in Queensland. He was the assistant coach," Dawes told HT from Melbourne on Tuesday. "Not sure if I'm going to Bangladesh (for the Asia Cup). I'm still trying to sort that out with Duncan Fletcher."

It was on Penney's recommendation that coach Fletcher suggested Dawes to BCCI. "They asked if I would be interested. It's a great honour to be involved with the India team.

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"It's a bit of an untapped resource for me. I have been at the MRF pace foundation a number of times, and for the Champions League Twenty20 with the Redbacks, and seen a lot of great talent there. Ishant Sharma and (Umesh) Yadav are coming through. I'm looking forward to working with them."

More than his decade-long stint as a cricketer, what's fascinating about the 41-year-old is his stint as a plainclothesman in Brisbane. "I joined the police force when I was 21, and then I started playing for Queensland when I was 27. I did both for about four years," he said.

"It was really good. It allowed me to have balance in my life, enjoy my cricket. I enjoyed being a cop, but loved being a cricketer. You have a bad day at cricket, you got to go to work. Cricket was my escape from the job."

How did his teammates in the Queensland dressing room react to his dual profile? "Sometimes I would turn up straight from work. Sometimes I would be late because I had been involved in an arrest or something like that. They all knew that. They were very supportive for it.

"They took the mickey out of it. they enjoyed jokes at my expense, I suppose. I was also the one that had to give out advice on speeding tickets and everything else. I earned the nickname 'wallops', which is a term of endearment for a policemen. The Queensland boys used to call me Walloper. I was bigger than most of them, so they didn't take a lot of mickey out of me. It was just a source of amusement."

So what was the most interesting assignment he was involved in away from the field? "We worked in a lot of specialisations. Armed robberies. Drugs squad. Child abuse. Worked in a lot of areas where was able to help a lot of people. You learn a lot about life. You learn how to communicate with people, and deal with the good and bad of the society."