Thursday 29th January was a red letter day for Hoggy as the former Test pace-man launched his own cricket coaching initiative at the City Cricket Academy at Freemens Common in Leicester. The launch of ‘Matthew Hoggard Cricket’ created a real buzz in the city as the media descended on the facility to see Matthew and Don Bhagawati, the Academy’s founder and director, set out a ground-breaking programme of coaching, master classes and international tours to the Middle East and the Indian Sub-continent. The pair were in demand with reporters from Sky Sports News, ITV Central News, BBC Radio Leicester, Cricket World and the Leicester Mercury.
Since retiring from the game, Hoggy has worked hard on his coaching qualifications and will now combine those skills with his extensive Test-level cricket experience to help develop young players’ technical abilities, confidence and all-round game-awareness. The programme is all about building character and preparing youngsters for a bright future in the game.
Hoggy and Don are due to fly out to the Middle East during the April school holiday for a Spring Tour of Dubai. The tour is specifically designed to improve players’ leadership skills and to give them experience of playing under floodlights and of the radically different atmospheric conditions known to affect the game so much.
Don Bhagawati is himself an accomplished cricketer and became one of India’s youngest first class players when he made his debut for Assam aged just 16 in 1995. He is passionate about cricket and has a genuine desire to encourage every youngster to fulfil their potential. These qualities have helped the Academy establish an enviable record as an inclusive centre for coaching excellence since it was established in 2006. The Academy’s state of the art centre at Freemens Common was officially opened by Mike Gatting OBE in 2008.
Matthew Hoggard said of the initiative, “I benefitted from some superb coaching when I was a lad and without it I wouldn’t have achieved what I did in the game. I want to give as much back as I can now I have the chance and this is a great opportunity to pass on my knowledge to help the cricketers of the future.
By getting kids involved in cricket at the earliest possible age we can instil in them the right habits, the correct techniques and an excellent attitude and outlook. I certainly think our approach will help kids with wider life skills as well and that should serve them well whatever they go on to do in life.”
Don is honoured by Hoggy’s involvement, saying “We’ve worked so hard since we started in 2006 and it reflects really well on us that we are now in a position to call upon the services of someone with Matthew Hoggard’s standing in the game. With him joining our team, we will be able to expand our offering and help more youngsters enjoy the game, improve their skills and inspire a winning mentality.
April’s Spring Tour to Dubai is the start of a new chapter for both ourselves at the City Cricket Academy and for ‘Matthew Hoggard Cricket’. This is an exciting time for everyone involved.”
At the launch, and as England continued their World Cup preparations with the Tri-Series in Australia, Sky Sports quizzed Hoggy about Stuart Broad’s lack of wickets since returning from a knee injury.
Matthew was optimistic about Broad’s form, telling the TV station "Stuart Broad is pivotal for England. He's been injured and historically it's always taken him a little bit of time to settle down and get back into form.
"The build-up with games against India and Australia will be very important to Stuart, but we all know you don't want to peak too early in the World Cup.
"If we can get through the group stage and into the quarter-finals and semi-finals, then it's anybody's game and Stuart will be striving to get better every game he plays."
And it seems Stuart Broad has listened to Hoggy’s words – on Friday 30th he took two Indian wickets as England reached the Tri-Series final!
Watch out for more analysis from Hoggy as the World Cup gets into full swing in February.