Q. Good Evening Michael, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. A lot of folks in Canada will be wondering exactly who is Michael Dighton. Can you tell us a bit about your cricketing background?
A. I would describe myself as a cricketing gypsy and the trend continues in this exciting opportunity as Canada’s National Coach. I grew up in Perth, Western Australia and made my first class debut for WA aged 21 in the 97/98 season as a top order right handed batsman. Teammates included Tom Moody, Justin Langer (who played for the same club side, Scarborough CC), Damien Martyn, Adam Gilchrist and Brendan Julian. I played 12 first class games and 8 list A games from the 97/98 season through to the 2000/2001 season. I struggled to play regularly due to the fact that many of the above were still playing for WA at that time.
In 2001 I was approached to play for Tasmania where I would play until the end of the 2009/2010 season, playing 50 first class games, 90 list A games and 16 t20 matches. My career highlight was playing in the first Tasmanian side to win the Sheffield Shield.
I also had stints with Hampshire, Derbyshire and the Netherlands (as overseas player in the English Pro40 competition). I played club cricket for Scarborough in WA, North Hobart in Tasmania as well as for clubs in England, Scotland and the Netherlands.
My coaching experiences include;
• Assistant coach (batting) for the Netherlands at the 2011 WC
• Head coach of the Cricket Australia National Emerging Talent Rookie Squad
• Batting coach of the Tasmanian u23s team
• Captain/Coach of various club teams at home and abroad
Q. Canada is a long way from Australia and despite our long association with John Davison, many Aussies may not have heard of Canada playing cricket?
A. I know that cricket is a popular sport throughout the country and that there is an abundance of young talent that I am very much looking forward to seeing in action and working with! I know that there is also a rich history and tradition of cricket in Canada
Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing you as you take over this team?
A. The logistical issue springs to mind. Canada is a big country; much like Australia and my initial time will be spent getting a feel for how the players train without having a central training base as such.
Q. What are you most looking forward to about living in Canada?
A. A big traditional Canadian breakfast with plenty of Maple Syrup! I also can’t wait to go to an Ice hockey game as I am told that the atmosphere is electric! I would also love to spend some time in the Canadian wilderness when time permits and I love my fishing, so trying to land a big Atlantic Salmon or ice fishing will be high on my to do list! I have never been skiing either and I am looking forward to having a crack at it.
Q. Obviously being a new coach, you will want to quickly put your unique stamp on the team. What is that going to look like?
A. My focus will be on continual improvement. It provides a fantastic theme and environment in which to work if everyone is looking to become the best cricketer they can possibly be for the good of the team. The players need to be honest with themselves and with one another in an appropriate way and respect what each individual brings to the team. I want the team to be more consistent on a day to day basis which is a challenge at associate level due to varying circumstances but cannot be used as an excuse. I will place a big emphasis on physical preparation and fielding, the two areas that we can control and always improve on. I will encourage an attacking and dynamic brand of cricket combined with smart decision making, because at the end of the day we are in the entertainment business.
Q. Finally, the thing that vexes everyone who moves here…are you looking forward to the Canadian Winter
A. Scares the living daylights out of me! My wife grew up 2 hours north of Chicago and has given me some ideas on what to expect and it sounds interesting. I am very much looking forward to my first white Christmas and the distinct changes to the seasons, something we don’t really get in Australia