An Auckland-born man who set out on a unique mission in Australia five years ago, has been awarded a well-deserved and highly worthy accolade.
The commitment and determination with which he worked with ‘All Abilities Cricket,’ an organisation that hones cricket skills of people who are otherwise challenged, has seen Hussain Hanif win the ‘Cricket Victoria Coach of the Year Award.’
He was selected from an enormous pool of 11,000 Coaches across the State of Victoria in Australia.
Born in Auckland to parents of Indo-Fijian decent, Hanif developed an early love for the game. He recalled his mother Janifa Hanif encouraging him to pursue the sport when he was just seven years old, taking him around for games whilst supporting him from the side lines.
As Hussain matured with the game, he got selected for Age-Group Representative Cricket for Auckland, before embarking in playing overseas in Scotland and UK.
Hanif pays special gratitude to people who have played a supportive role to his cricket development. One such individual is Azhar Abbas, the current Auckland Aces Bowling Coach, who nurtured Hanif whilst the latter played Premier Cricket for Eden Roskill Cricket Club.
Hanif continued his Cricket journey in Australia where he coached and played Premier Cricket in Brisbane and Sydney for three years.
After a five-year coaching stint in Melbourne, the coveted title landed in his hands.
YCCC is the only All-Abilities Cricket Club in Melbourne’s Western suburbs, an authentic hub of cultures and backgrounds.
The YCCC has a high proportion of overweight and diabetic residents in some suburbs, as well as families of low socioeconomic and migrant backgrounds.
Back to the Community
For Hanif, it has been about giving back to the sport and the community.
He acknowledges that dealing with different disabilities has been a somewhat hard task as it is just not about coaching. It also involves adapting to different coaching methods to cater for people with disabilities.
However, his desire to see players succeed both on and off-the field has been his motivational factor in pursuing coaching.
Hanif hopes the prestigious award will be a catalyst to bringing more awareness of All-Abilities Cricket.
The key to working with people with disabilities is understanding them on an individual basis, Hanif says.
He recognises that not understanding the person and not spending time with them means that he would not understand how they are going to play.
His style has enabled him to understand each player and establish a comfort zone with them, individually.
This challenging task has had other benefits in Hanif’s coaching career. The Award has given him an opportunity to work with Cricket Australia Coach Darren Lehman and other coaching staff in preparing for the Boxing Day Test and One-Day Series for the summer.
The adaptation of different methods and skill acquisition has been a great learning curve.
Hanif also salutes the role played by volunteer Lorraine Woodman, who is key figure at the club with 25 years of experience in dealing with disabilities and carers.
With the Victorian Premier Cricket season starting this month, the summer months will be Hanif’s first coaching assignment would be to defend the Big Bash AA Cup in December.
His focus will then be with the senior Cricket Australia National Championships coaching the Victorian side.
Hanif is now settled in Melbourne, married to Henal with children Aydin and Aanya.
Outside his official role, he continues to do private coaching whilst running the Academy.
He also intends to launch a Junior Programme called ‘Little Stars Cricket’ as a business in Melbourne at the end of the year.
- Hussain Hanif: A Special Coach for Special People
- Hussain Hanif with Lorraine Woodman