Hammond lends weight to Glamorgan effort

Self-learning, self-healing, self-motivating. That's the antipodean mantra for Glamorgan this season under the regime of their new coach, Jeff Hammond. Certainly it has given the Glamorgan players something to think about while rain has been washing out their Benson & Hedges Cup programme. But, cricketers being cricketers, what they really wanted was a match.

The same has applied to their visitors, Warwickshire. Without a win yet, Warwickshire needed more than no-result points from yesterday's fixture to keep their quarter- final hopes alive. They viewed a break in the clouds and a few blue patches with optimism. A late-afternoon 10-overs slog looked in prospect. The covers were rolled back. In rolled another shower. No contest.

Still, it is April - the cruellest month, if TS Eliot is to be believed, and a bloody silly month in which to be staging a cricket competition, however spurious. But you wouldn't expect the England and Wales Cricket Board to know about poetry. There is not much money in poetry.

At least coach Hammond knows something about English weather. He came here in 1972 as the youngest member of Ian Chappell's side - a fast bowler. He didn't make a Test, but he did play all five when Australia won in the West Indies in 1972-73. Dennis Lillee had back trouble and Hammond stood up to be counted, taking 15 wickets in the series. He might have established himself. Instead he suffered a back injury himself and missed several seasons. In his place came another Jeff - Thomson by name - and the rest is history.

Hammond played Sheffield Shield cricket for South Australia until 1980-81, even opening the batting one year, but he will be better remembered for coaching them to two Shield finals. South Australia lost the first, in 1994-95, when Queensland enjoyed their first-ever Shield title, but won the second a season later.

Queensland's coach at the time was John Buchanan, now Australia's coach and, for one unhappy season, coach of Middlesex. "The Buchanan incident was foremost in my mind before coming here," Hammond said. "It left a real bad taste in Australia."

He has found Glamorgan very positive in their approach, however.

"I haven't come here to reinvent the wheel," Hammond explained. "I've brought a few of my ideas, and they've been well accepted. The spirit's good, I think the skill level is good. Our main danger will be lack of depth. If we lose a few players to injury, we're going to be tested."

Hammond plans to insure against this by making Glamorgan work on their fitness. "In Australia we do a lot of training during the season - weights twice a week, for example - and this will be the first year some of these guys will have experienced that kind of programme. It will be interesting to see how they feel come July and August."

It will indeed.

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