Ringing in the new era is Dipak Patel, who has this year taken up his position as Head of Cricket after three seasons as coach of the King’s 1st XI.
Mr Patel is a former Black Cap and international cricket coach with more than 40 years of experience at the sport’s top level and is excited about the new challenge.
“I’m looking forward to enabling the students to not only realise their own potential as cricketers but also to actually fulfil it.
“Our goal is to be the best cricketing school in New Zealand,” Mr Patel says.
Set to help bring this goal within reach are the newly upgraded cricket facilities, the result of a significant fundraising and development effort undertaken by the King’s College Cricket Club (KCCC).
The project, spearheaded by Old Collegian Phillip Lindberg (Marsden, 1980–84) and King’s parent Greg Olliver, has seen the state of the King’s College facilities soar to what
Mr Patel says is an international standard.
“The facilities that we’re going to have are phenomenal,” he says.Check out the full Summer 2020 issue of the King's Courier
Mr Lindberg, whose son Tom (Year 11, Greenbank) plays in the 3rd XI, says what has now become a facility-wide upgrade began with the simple necessity of upgrading the AstroTurf cricket nets near the Old Collegians’ Pavilion.
At that location, King’s cricketers now have a brand new practice facility: the Dr Hylton Le Grice Cricket Nets, named so after generous donor, passionate 1st XI supporter and Old Collegian Hylton Le Grice CNZM OBE
(St John’s, 1947–51).
“[Dr Le Grice] is an avid supporter; he’s there every Saturday to support us and we really appreciate that. We’re incredibly grateful for his contribution to the fundraising for these new facilities,” Mr Patel says.
New grass nets now sit northwest of the running track also. Of these, Mr Patel says, “You wouldn’t find grass training facilities of that quality in a lot of international grounds.”
With the intention of putting in new grass nets came the realisation that the grass on the number one wicket was due some attention, namely new soil.
The expertise of Mr Olliver, who is a property developer and parent of 3rd XI cricketer Joshua (Year 11, Selwyn) and Old Collegian Ella (Middlemore, 2017), brought to light the opportunity to reorientate the number one and two wickets.
The benefits of this move are twofold: previously, the batsman faced the challenge of looking for a red cricket ball against the backdrop of the red bricks of the buildings along Memorial Drive. The rotation means that this is no longer the case.
In addition, there is now space for two full ovals (with no boundaries intermingling, as can be the case at a cricket ground).
“A cricket oval is something that you always aspire to go and watch a game of cricket from, so there’s not that interaction of two matches together,” Mr Patel says.
Bespoke sight screens round out the list of new additions and culminate in a sense of new opportunities for cricket at King’s.
Mr Patel is quick to recognise Mr Lindberg and Mr Olliver and the significant amount of work they’ve undertaken behind the scenes to make this $450,000 development possible.
“The great thing about it is not only are we being able to provide these facilities but in the past our resources were very limited; only certain teams could practice on pitches,” Mr Patel says; “whereas now, with all that’s available, every cricketer will have the opportunity to use those facilities too,” Mr Patel says.
Widening access to sport is an idea former King’s First XI cricketer Mr Lindberg keeps top of mind as well.
“As the King’s College Cricket Club, what we’re really focused on is giving everybody the benefit of these facilities as opposed to just the 1st XI,” he says.
Mr Patel’s new approach to training will see the 1st XI involved with the training sessions of more junior teams, an initiative
Mr Lindberg says the players will love.
“If you’re a Year 9 boy, there’s nothing more exciting than having the fast bowler from the 1st XI come and help coach at your training on Monday or Tuesday afternoon,” he says.
So, with the hard work of a passionate parent committee, generous support of key donors, the Foundation and the Friends, and the skill of groundsmen Jamie Jensen, Matt Fraser and the team, King’s College cricketers now train and play on top-quality facilities.
We look forward to celebrating the opening of the new cricket facilities with an official ceremony in Term 1, 2021. Keep an eye on our website for further details.