ING  Cup - NSW Blues v Qld Bulls

Hopes and Bichel Join Coaching Ranks

  • in The Bulls .

Queensland Cricket has bolstered its all-round off-field armoury for the coming summer with a pair of favourite sons joining its high performance coaching team and two major sponsors renewing for the next two years.

Queensland Fire major partner Konica Minolta and Queensland Bulls naming rights partner my FootDr have both extended their agreements for the next two seasons it was announced at today’s season launch.

Queensland Cricket Chairman Jim Holding congratulated both sponsors, with Konica Minolta entering their 20th year of consecutive sponsorship and my FootDr, Australia’s leading chain of podiatrists, signing on two years ago.

“Both my FootDr and Konica Minolta have been outstanding supporters of cricket in Queensland and we thank them for committing to the Bulls and the Fire, and to our pathway teams and Premier Cricket competitions for a further two years,’’ he said.

On the playing front, former captain James Hopes and fast bowling great Andy Bichel will be part of Queensland’s youth pathway and senior coaching team this season.

Bichel, the second leading wicket-taker in Queensland history, and Hopes are the only players in Queensland Sheffield Shield history to have scored more than 2500 runs and taken over 250 wickets.

The 46-year-old Bichel, a former National Selector and assistant coach for the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, will be Bulls Assistant Coach – Pathways and will work with Queensland’s youth teams as well as the Bulls.

The Brisbane Heat have also reinforced their coaching unit with Hopes and current my FootDR Queensland Bulls coach Phil Jaques taking on duties with the club for the coming KFC T20 Big Bash League season.

Hopes has been appointed to Queensland Cricket’s staff as a Pathways coach and assistant Bulls coach. For the Heat he will fill a coaching and planning role, working with the latest coaching tools to devise and plan tactics and strategies for the Heat against their BBL opponents.

Jaques, in his second year as head coach of the Bulls, will take on a coaching assistant role alongside Heat assistant Shane Bond and head coach Daniel Vettori in the BBL. Jaques, who played 84 T20 games in his career, will have a batting focus with the group.

The Konica Minolta Queensland Fire and WBBL Brisbane Heat have also gained additional high performance resources with experienced coach Peter McGiffin reverting from a talent officer role to a Pathways coaching role to assist Fire and Heat coach Andy Richards and assistant Scott Prestwidge.

Queensland Cricket General Manager – High Performance Brett Jones said Bichel and Hopes would bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to work with the next generations of Queensland players.

“With Andy, James Hopes and current Pathways coach John Davison to call on, potential Queensland players who emerge from the Pathways system will have some outstanding mentors to work with,’’ he said.

“In a similar vein, Pete McGiffin will enhance our female pathway in developing future Fire and Heat players as well as provide support for Andy Richards across both of the squads this summer.”

“We are constantly reviewing how we work effectively with premier cricket to ensure players and coaches at all levels can access information and knowledge. The support of the QAS has been integral to building depth in the Queensland Bulls and we are now seeking to emulate this with our female and youth programs.”

Jones said the Heat role was an excellent professional development opportunity for Queensland coach Jaques.

“To be part of a different group and to be able to reflect and mix with new faces will be a great opportunity for Phil. His first season with the Bulls showed us the type of leader he is and working with Dan, who has had a different set of coaching experiences, is a great way to grow as a coach.”

“We had former New Zealand and current Irish coach John Bracewell with us at the Heat last year in a similar capacity so with Phil and James getting involved this year, it offers the chance for the players and coaches to tap into their experience and expertise during the BBL,” he said.

Jones said the Bulls coaching assistant Ashley Noffke would take on the task of working with Queensland squad members and other invited players during the BBL as they prepared for the resumption of the Sheffield Shield and Toyota Futures League at the conclusion of the tournament.