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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Marsh's latest assignment
By Dominic Ellis

You might think Rod Marsh would be taking it easy these days, with nothing more pressing to do than sort out his bulging Ashes photo albums over a few cold ones.

Rod Marsh
England have had a good start under Peter Moores, but it's hard to judge how well he's doing

Rod Marsh

But the sprightly Aussie, who turns 60 in November, is busy with his director of coaching role at the ICC Global Academy in Dubai, which is due to open in August 2008.

The academy will complement the nearby cricket stadium at Dubai Sports City, scheduled to stage its first international match in March.

Marsh, the first great wicketkeeper-batsman in Australian cricket, has been in England this week pitching the academy as the perfect pre-season base for counties.

He has also been venturing a few opinions on the state of English cricket after his 2002-2005 stint as the inaugural director of the National Academy.

His successor there, Peter Moores, has since stepped up to replace Duncan Fletcher as England coach - a position Marsh himself may have coveted at one stage.

"England have had a good start under Peter, but it's hard to judge how well he's doing because the West Indies have been unsettled," Marsh tells BBC Sport.

"He's very hard-working and loves the game.

"When I spoke to [England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive] David Collier he was all smiles, so that's a good sign."

Marsh, who has spent the best part of 17 years nurturing young players, has been intrigued by the comings and goings of coaches at elite level.

An artist's impression of the new cricket stadium (right)
An artist's impression of the new cricket stadium (right)

Currently, India and Pakistan have no national coach, while Sri Lanka have only recently replaced Tom Moody with another Australian, Trevor Bayliss.

"It's quite a problem," explains Marsh. "Whenever a top position comes up it's not been easy to fill.

"That's one of the things we're hoping to do at the academy - standardise coaching qualifications so that a level three in Pakistan is the same as a level three in England or anywhere else."

With no head coach, India will employ a makeshift set-up on their tour of England.

They will have a fielding coach in Robin Singh and a bowling coach in Venkatesh Prasad, but the batting instruction will be done by the senior players, such as Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar.

"Maybe it's no bad thing, they have a manager and support staff," said Marsh.

"It may be that we go more along the lines of the soccer set-up, where teams have a manager and coaches to assist the preparation of the team.

"John Buchanan and Duncan Fletcher did a lot of one-on-ones with coaches who prepared the players. Perhaps that's the way it will go."

The indoor centre will be similar to Loughborough, but with air-conditioning rather than heating

Rod Marsh

How about this Global Academy lark?

"We've had excellent feedback so far," says Marsh.

"What's good is if we get more than two or three counties at any one time we can hold a tournament.

"We hope the academy will be a magnet for all levels of cricket, counties, state sides, national sides or international teams.

"An added bonus is that we will have our group of coaches on hand to provide specific bowling or batting camps."

Preparations at the academy are verging on the Nasa-esque, as it aims to serve as a focal point for administrators, curators, umpires, coaches and players.

"The indoor centre will be similar to Loughborough, although the biggest difference is that it will have air conditioning rather than heating," says Marsh.

"It will be state of the art, with lanes dedicated for spinners, batsmen and fast bowlers to perfect their skills. We're also getting Hawkeye and a high-speed camera which I don't think has been used before."

Should the venture take off, expect the affable Aussie to keep catching the attention of the cricket world, just as he did in his glove-keeping prime.

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