Australian coach, Peter Anderson, Afghanistan’s new National Cricket Academy head, began work in Kabul this week.
“I am excited to be here in Afghanistan,” Anderson said, surrounded by 200 young aspiring cricketers at the Kabul Cricket Stadium. “I hope I can make a contribution to the quality of cricket here. I will start slowly, watching, listening and learning.”
“We are pleased to be welcoming a person of Peter Anderson’s calibre to head our new Afghanistan Cricket Academy,” Dr Noor Mohammad Murad, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board said this week, “he brings to us 35 years of cricketing experience both in Australia and internationally. His experience with Papua New Guinea Cricket, a developing cricket country, will fit him well for his work in Afghanistan. As head of the National Cricket Academy we expect that his skills will impact upon a broad range of Afghan cricket from junior and domestic through to the elite level.”
Anderson has been playing and coaching cricket for over 35 years and has been involved with many of cricket’s great players and people. Talking about his career, he says, “I often think how lucky I have been.”
Anderson, however, is often described as one of the unlucky Australian players.
Many people believe Anderson was at least equal to Ian Healy at the time Healy was chosen to play for Australia. Healy made his first-class debut in 1986–87 as a replacement for the injured Peter Anderson who had broken his thumb whilst wicket keeping behind Ian Botham. This gave Ian Healy his chance to go on and play 100 Test matches. In his book, “Hands and Heals”, Ian Healy recognises Peter’s talent and says he learnt more from him than any keeper he played with or against.
In 2000, Healy named Peter to play in his “World XI”. It was one of two teams of cricketing greats which played for Healy’s retirement testimonial match in Brisbane, Australia. Peter was chosen as a wicket keeper amongst some of the biggest cricketing names including Graham Gooch, Desmond Haynes, Kepler Wessels, Andrew Symonds, Viv Richards, Jeff Dujon, Brian McMillan, Richard Hadlee, Abdul Qadir, Adam Dale, Courtney Walsh, Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Ian Healy, Mark Taylor, Michael Slater, David Boon, Mark Waugh, Allan Border, Stuart Law, Shane Warne, Andy Bichel and Justin Langer.
Even though his dream of playing for Australia never eventuated, Peter treasures his years in cricket. He describes himself as being “like a big sponge”, soaking up experience which has made him widely recognised as a valuable coach both in Australia and internationally. Despite being unlucky in his own playing career, he has contributed much to the game and to the success of numerous young cricketers who have gone on to international careers.
Peter values the mentoring and coaching he received from some fine coaches including Barry Richards the great South African batsman and John Buchanan the Australian team coach.
He played with many other well-known names: Alan Border, Greg Chappell, Ian Botham, and Viv Richards. As a wicket keeper over the past 35 years, Anderson has stood over the stumps behind Tendulkar, Lara and many other word class batsmen. In Queensland’s Second XI for a number of years, Peter captained Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds and Andy Bichel and other young players who were beginning their journey to the Australian National Team and international success.
Looking much younger than his 52 years, Peter continues to put into practice the fitness he expects of his players. He notes proudly: “I was probably the oldest cricketer still playing A Grade cricket in the Queensland region.”
He sees his extensive experience in the game and his wicket keeping as being an important part of his ability as a coach. “I feel very in touch with the players and the game which helps your cricket knowledge,” he says, “Also I believe the wicket keeper role puts you in the best position to help players in all facets of the game. You get to be involved with pace bowlers and spinners in helping them. So being a keeper you get the best seat in the house to learn about the game.”