As far as seasoned coaches on the cricket circuit go, there aren’t many who boast a resume as impressive as that of Toby Radford. The former Middlesex batsman has held the assistant and batting coach positions for the West Indies among others in an extensive coaching career stretching to nearly two decades so far.

While he has also donned the head coach hat for Middlesex and Glamorgan, the crowning achievement of Radford’s coaching career remains West Indies’ triumph in the 2012 T20I World Cup. More recently in 2019, he was part of the Windies coaching staff during the side’s memorable Test series triumph over England in the Caribbean.

Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran and England’s Alex Hales are just some of the star names that have benefitted from Glamorgan native Radford’s guidance as a coach. Now, it is the turn of several youngsters in the UAE to make the most of Radford’s wisdom through a series of webinars being offered by Zurich International Life Limited in the Middle East.

With Radford on board, these free of cost webinars offer an enriching opportunity to cricket enthusiasts aged between 12 and 19.  The hour-long sessions being held on a weekly basis are allowing budding cricketers from the UAE to hone their batting skills under the direct supervision of Radford.

Being held via video conferencing tools such as Zoom, the batting masterclass sees Radford bring the best of his batting coach expertise to the table. The junior cricketers are being given a chance to gain an insight into the makings of a successful batsman from Radford and the rest of the coaching staff.

With an emphasis on the fundamentals of batting, the masterclass goes a step further by stressing on the importance of individual styles and differences. Radford imparts this lesson by making a comparative study of the most successful international batsmen in the game currently.

The exciting opportunity to pick the brains of an experienced coach like Radford is proving to be a big hit among the youngsters, and the Welshman is equally enthused with the chance to develop talent in the UAE.

“Since leaving the West Indies role, I have been doing a lot of work with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). I have been coaching a lot of coaches. I have been rewriting the coaches’ syllabus for the Level Three advanced courses and specialist coaches, all on the batting side and then delivering those courses around the United Kingdom,” Radford told Sport360.

“When we went into lockdown around three months ago, I had to take a lot of my work online like I am doing in the UAE currently. Like the Zoom masterclass with coaches, with players. I have really enjoyed that. It has opened up a different avenue really.

“Technology now is so good that we can now do this. Like last weekend, we had a classroom of players listening in and chatting with you, which is brilliant. I am really grateful for that. It is amazing how people are having to alter their way of working.”

While he swears by the manual of face-to-face coaching, Radford believes online webinars are a revolutionary move for the current climate.

“I think the perfect coaching session is always a face to face, hands on type of session. With the best players and coaches, you always want to be face to face ideally. For me, this is the next best thing. I have started with two things,” he stated.

“First is the bigger masterclass type of group session where the players listen in. Secondly, the players can record themselves batting on their IPads or phones and send the recording to me.

“I then analyse these videos and send my reports back on Whatsapp. Which is amazing again really. You can be anywhere in the world and get a response rapidly in terms of where your game is at and recommendations to put things right.”

“I am very grateful to Zurich Middle East for putting money and trying to develop cricket for the young players in Dubai and the UAE,” he added.

“I am sure there is real untapped talent there which we are hoping to polish up and hone for the future.  So I really want to thank them on my behalf for trying to raise awareness and developing cricket in the region.”

The masterclass being co-hosted by Radford and leading UAE coach Mohsin Arif has been running since the start of July and will culminate with a final session in the coming days.

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