Delegation from Pakistan’s cricket team meet with Palace boss at Beckenham
by Andrew McSteen
On Thursday, former Palace striker Shefki Kuqi watched Palace train ahead of their Premier League home clash against Everton, continuing the visits and exchange of information between different leaders and Palace boss Roy Hodgson at the Eagles training ground in Beckenham.
Even England rugby coach Eddie Jones has visited in the past, amongst many others, but on Friday it was the turn of the Pakistan cricket team as a delegation met with Hodgson after they completed their training session at the adjoining Kent County Ground as they are in England preparing for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales from 30 May-14 July.
“I invited them over, but I didn’t have much time to speak to them,” said Hodgson to the South London Press about the visit. “It was just a general chat with a group of people – coach Mickey Arthur is from South Africa – who are very interested in football and in where my career has taken me.
“We didn’t get a chance to talk about those things,” added Hodgson when asked about any exchange of coaching tips. “But I’m hoping I get a chance to meet them again and, who knows, maybe then we will get a bit more into a detailed chat about what they have as training and leadership philosophies because it’s certainly interesting to me.”
There are many links between the Eagles and cricket, not least with Crystal Palace’s doctor, Zafar Iqbal, who has worked with Pakistan cricket, treating players at Beckenham, as well as working with Kent. For Hodgson, since returning to the UK at the end of 2007 after his travels overseas with work, he has been able to look a lot more closely at the learning opportunities which the sport provides.
“It’s a game I’ve always liked but don’t know that much about,” he said. “I didn’t see much of it between the years I went to Sweden until the years I eventually came back to England, so that’s quite a long hiatus and cricket was hardly existing for me then.
“When I was with England though I was able to go and watch a training session of both the Australian team and the Trevor Bayliss England team. Funnily enough, Mickey had just left the Australian team then with Darren Lehman taking over. We stayed a whole morning and afternoon to watch them train and got a chance to speak to both Lehman and Bayliss, so I had that pleasure.
“There was also a leadership seminar I was taking part in where I had the chance to speak with Andrew Strauss – I’ve had a chance to speak to a few cricket people about their experiences and it does interest me.”