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  1. #1
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    "I want to see Norway achieve their true potential":M. Haroon [Norway Head Coach]

    Muhammad Haroon, currently serving as Head Coach for the Norway Cricket team, is a former first class cricketer who bowled leg spin and played in Pakistan and England. He is a level 4 ECB coach and recently won the East of England coach of the year award from the ECB. In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net he spoke about his own background, his role as Head Coach for the Norway Cricket team, the current levels of interest in cricket in Norway and his view of the future of cricket in the country.


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    PakPassion.net: How long is your contract with Norway cricket as Head Coach?

    Muhammad Haroon: This year my contract was for just 4 months. This is the first time ever Norway have hired a coach for longer than one month, so I think they have been very happy with my coaching. They want to extend my contract for a longer term now and have given me good space to work.


    Pakpassion.net: What's your background as a coach?

    Muhammad Haroon: I played first class cricket in Pakistan, then I moved to England and played 17 years professionally and also did my coaching badges whilst playing. Now I am a level 4 ECB coach, the only person from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka to have that qualification.

    I have also recently won the ECB East of England coach of the year award which was presented to me at the start of the 1st ODI at the Oval between England and Sri Lanka.


    PakPassion.net: What's the interest in cricket like in Norway?

    Muhammad Haroon: The interest in cricket in general is unbelievably fantastic. Everything is amazingly well organised, even though they only have five grounds. Getting into division 1 in the ICC Europe tournament has increased enthusiasm and interest in the national team also.


    Pakpassion.net: Do the locals play much cricket or is it mainly ex-pats?

    Muhammad Haroon: It is mainly people from the subcontinent however, we do have Damien Shortis from Australia who plays for the national team. It is a mix of immigrants mainly but now cricket is being played in schools and hence more locals will get involved. There are a few teams with locals in them who are in the lower divisions at the moment but are improving all of the time.



    Pakpassion.net: What's the standard of cricket like in Norway?

    Muhammad Haroon: As all the players are amateurs it will of course take time to increase the skill levels but the enthusiasm and interest is amazing and there is a lot of potential. In organisational terms, the standard is excellent as teams play in coloured kits with white balls and all the grounds are well maintained, umpires are reliable with the season running from May to early September.


    Pakpassion.net: What about leagues and the domestic set-up in Norway?

    Muhammad Haroon: There are 5 divisions, with the top division being the Elite division and then divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4. In these divisions there are 54 teams. There are also 4 women teams and some age group teams.

    There are also positive signs from the government as the Norway cricket board has been granted federation status which is a healthy sign for cricket. There are plans to build a few stadiums in the longer term. In the near future there is a plan to build a proper cricket ground. Also we are looking at improving the indoor facilities as at the moment we can't play with the hard ball indoors which is a major hindrance in winter.


    PakPassion.net: Recently Norway won promotion via an ICC tournament, what was that competition and which league is Norway in now?

    Muhammad Haroon: This was a ICC Europe T20 competition with Norway in division 2 in which there are 6 teams. Norway won division 2 by winning all their matches and has been promoted to division 1. From division 1 we can get promoted to ICC World Cricket League. This was the first time in 8 years that Norway won a tournament.


    Pakpassion.net: What are your aims and targets with Norway cricket?

    Muhammad Haroon: I want to see Norway achieve their true potential and I want to bring the best out of them. I want the younger players to learn as well and therefore I am taking the Under 19 team to England this month. We will be going to Lincolnshire, to play 5 matches. The idea is to give these future Norway players experience of playing on turf wickets as in Norway we only have artificial pitches.


    Pakpassion.net: Any players to look out for in Norway?

    Muhammad Haroon: It is difficult for me to single out any individuals but I can tell you that in the European division 2, Norway had the highest run scorer (Etsham Ul-Haq,) 3rd highest run scorer (Muhammad Shahbaz Butt) and the top wicket taker (Safir Hayat.) This shows how much talent there is in Norway and is an indicator of what we can expect in the future as well.
    Last edited by Saj; 14th July 2014 at 21:24.


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  2. #2
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    There are many Pakistanis in Norway,When I went there it was like Little Pakistan especially that road which was similar to Mall Road in Murree

  3. #3
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    Would love to see Norway play in one of the ICC tournaments in the near future.

    From Europe there are actually, a few nations that are getting better at cricket.


    "And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe" - Surah Ibrahim (14:7)

  4. #4
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    Wow, did not expect an interview about my country here. Thanks PP will insha Allah give my insight soon.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


    Pakistan Zindabad!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by anakwalajinn View Post
    Wow, did not expect an interview about my country here. Thanks PP will insha Allah give

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Just shows PakPassion.net has a global reach.


    Without Pakistan we have nothing....

  6. #6
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    Lovely stuff PP! The popularity of cricket here in Norway is increasing day by day.
    @jinn, have you tried out the nets at Haugerud?


    Ki Mohammad (saw) sey wafa tu ney tou hum terey hain
    Yeh jahaan cheez kya hai Loh-o-Qalam tere hain

  7. #7
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    Good Stuff. Hope Cricket in Norway gets bigger and better in future


    Interested in talking about your own game? Click on My Cricket

    Follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  8. #8
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    Hope more locals take part!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAJ View Post
    Lovely stuff PP! The popularity of cricket here in Norway is increasing day by day.
    @jinn, have you tried out the nets at Haugerud?
    Among the Asian immigrants as usual or even among the other locals ( ethnic ) ?

  10. #10
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    Best of luck to Haroon and the Norway team.

    Haroon coached Mohammad Asif in his early days and really helped him develop as a bowler.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eradicator View Post
    Among the Asian immigrants as usual or even among the other locals ( ethnic ) ?
    Half of Norway is filled with Pakistanis

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebreaker View Post
    Half of Norway is filled with Pakistanis
    I think we are only 2-3% of the whole population, but probably around 8-10% in the capital.

    Cricket is increasing slowly in among the locals, but very slowly if you ask me. We just need to get more sponsors and promotions. Not having enough and proper grounds is of course not helping our cause. The Cricket board is doing an okay job, but can of course always do better.

    We do have a secretary general now who is ethnic Norwegian instead of an ethnic Pakistani guy, which is pretty cool.

    I wrote an article about Norwegian cricket last year, I can google translate that and post it here


    Pakistan Zindabad!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAJ View Post
    Lovely stuff PP! The popularity of cricket here in Norway is increasing day by day.
    @jinn, have you tried out the nets at Haugerud?
    Not really. Really cool that there are nets there, though. Have you?

    I have not played any matches this year. Been busy with other stuff. However, we can have a net session after Ramadhaan?


    Pakistan Zindabad!

  14. #14
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    Here is the article, just type the link in Google translate

    http://www.blendmag.no/2013/03/04/no.../#.U8fC__l_uT8


    Pakistan Zindabad!

  15. #15
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    @anakwalajinn will be playing soon

  16. #16
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    Many thanks to Haroon for his time and also the best of luck to everyone involved in Norway cricket.




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