Wellington’s successful cricket coaching team will stretch into a fourth season after Bruce Edgar and Glenn Pocknall agreed to one-year contract extensions.
Head coach Edgar and his assistant Pocknall will continue for the next two seasons at least, after Cricket Wellington confirmed they would take the Firebirds through to 2018-19.
Edgar took over from Jamie Siddons in 2015 and had his most successful season at the helm last summer when the Hamish Marshall-captained side won the Twenty20 title and were pipped by Canterbury in the one-day final. Pocknall has been an assistant since 2013 when he worked with Siddons.
Cricket Wellington chief executive Cam Mitchell welcomed the pair re-committing to the Firebirds, especially given the team’s recent on-field success.
“We saw with the Firebirds’ results last season how well Bruce and Glenn work together in driving the team to succeed. We’re excited about the prospects for the next two seasons,” Mitchell said in a statement.
The Firebirds are well under way in pre-season training for their Plunket Shield opener against Auckland at the Basin Reserve, starting on October 23.
The team had their first open wicket session on the Basin last Friday, with new additions Michael Bracewell (from Otago) and Logan van Beek (from Canterbury) having joined the side who will look to defend their Twenty20 crown and try to lift their first Plunket Shield first-class title since 2004.
“The lads have worked hard over the winter and have hit the ground running. The vibe around the group is very positive and we have been fortunate to be training on grass at the Basin,” Edgar said.
Edgar earlier named three captains for the first time, with Bracewell taking charge of the Plunket Shield side, last year’s star recruit Hamish Bennett captaining the one-day team and Marshall continuing with the T20 reins after retiring from first-class cricket.
Mitchell said Edgar, a Wellington stalwart who played 39 tests and 64 ODIs for New Zealand from 1978 till 1986, and Pocknall were examples of the organisation’s target of producing title-winning teams and creating pathways.
“Bruce developed his skills as a player here before making a mark in international cricket. It’s great for his career in the game to continue in his hometown. That development, from player in to a sustainable career in the game, adds another layer to what he offers as a leader.
“In terms of coaching development within our region, Glenn epitomises someone who has made the most of the opportunities and pathways on offer. He’s developed from a youth coach to his current role, where he’s won three titles with the Firebirds.”
Joining the coaches in the Firebirds’ support staff are physiotherapist Paul Steele, strength and conditioning specialist Andrew Smith, video and data analyst Greg Butler, visual acuity trainer Renee Edgar (no relation), and mental skills coach Natalie Hogg.
– The Dominion Post