New blood and favourite son join Auckland Aces’ ranks

Doug Watson and Michael Bates will be joining the Auckland Aces High Performance programme for the 2017/18 season.

Watson will be the new Aces assistant coach while former Aces left-arm paceman Bates joins as a Bowling Resource Coach.

Watson is excited about the prospect of starting a new life in Auckland and is enthused to immerse himself in the Aces set up, especially with the promising talent emerging from the association.

“I think it’s fantastic to develop a young group of players because they’ve got a page to their career about to be written. Youngsters are keen, fearless and play positively. They bring a lot of energy to a group so it’s exciting to get involved,” Watson says.

“Batesy has a lot of mana within the Auckland Cricket environment. He is the kind of bloke who, when he talks, people listen. We are excited to have him on board to help develop our bowling unit for the coming season,” says Aces head coach Mark O’Donnell.

With Watson’s appointment comes a wealth of coaching experience from different parts of the globe, having coached the Namibian national side as well as a coaching stint with the Mumbai Indians in the 2009 IPL.

Watson has also played 139 first-class matches, scoring 7692 runs at an average of 36.80 and says his desire to move to Kiwi shores has been bubbling away for a while.

“I was at an ICC event in New Zealand a couple of years ago and absolutely loved the country. Ever since, I have looked forward to getting back to New Zealand in a coaching capacity so when this position came up I was very interested,” he says.

“I will bring a hard work ethic and plenty of enjoyment to the group – which I believe is very important when you are practicing cricket, enjoying it. I also bring broad experience across a wide age range,” he says.

However, while Watson is more than prepared to call New Zealand his new home don’t expect him to be adopting all aspects of New Zealand life.

When pressed on whether he would be supporting the All Blacks or Springboks come rugby season he had this diplomatic response.

“I’ve been copping abuse from my wife because we are not even in New Zealand yet and ‘Doug’s watching the All Blacks play the British Lions’. Let’s just watch this space, I’m a South African at heart but we are looking forward to getting across to New Zealand and starting work there.”

Auckland Cricket has made two other appointments for the coming season with Simon Insley moving into a role as Professional Cricket Manager while Nick White is now the Performance and Pathways Manager. Both will continue to work in the High-Performance area for Auckland Cricket.