Rao resigns, Knight steps up

CHANGES AT THE TOP: Mohit Rao has resigned as Poverty Bay cricket district manager for personal reasons. Herald file pictures
Mel Knight has been appointed interim manager.

MEL Knight has been appointed Poverty Bay cricket district manager on an interim basis following Mohit Rao’s decision to leave the district.

“I’m finishing due to personal and family reasons,” said Chenna-born Rao, who was a year into his two-year contact.

“It’s has been a great pleasure to be part of the Poverty Bay cricket family and I thank everyone from clubs, schools, players, parents, teachers and the media for all their support. I wish everyone the very best for this season.”

Poverty Bay Cricket Association chairman Chris Slater said the board was disappointed with Rao’s decision “but fully understand and support his reasons”.

“Mohit has been a very engaging district manager and brought with him a lot of energy and a new way of thinking to cricket and the way it is delivered for schools, fans and players alike.

“The timing is unfortunate as there was so much more that he and the board had wanted to achieve.”

Former Otago Volts assistant coach Rao came to New Zealand 14 years ago following spells of coaching in Hong Kong and India.

“I have enjoyed my time in Gisborne, even though it’s been short. There are a good group of people on the board and in the cricket community.

“We (the board and high performance coach Lance Cairns) are not where we want to be but sometimes things take time.

“Lance and I have been keen to see players identified at an earlier age and then attend sessions at the Poverty Bay high performance academy, but we need an indoor centre so players can work on skills and techniques all year round.

“The board is pushing for an indoor centre and it would be great if it can get one.”

Rao said he was confident Knight would do a good job.

“She’s got good communication skills. She wil make mistates as she goes along — we all do — but it’s about learning from the mistakes and improving along the way.”

Slater said Knight’s interim appointment was “an easy decision for the board”.

“Mel has our full confidence. Given her experience, knowledge and contribution to Poverty Bay cricket, it is a natural progression for her. This will be a challenging role for her but she is excited at the opportunity.

“From a Poverty Bay cricket perspective, it’s business as usual. We have a big season coming up and many programmes to roll out that have been developed by the team under the guidance of Mohit.

“The Board wish Mohit all the best in his future endeavours. He has made an outstanding contribution to PB cricket in the short time he has been here and he will be missed.

“He assures me he will be in regular contact and will follow the fortunes of PB closely.”

Knight, the Poverty Bay women’s player-coach and women’s development officer and a member of the Northern Spirit squad, said she was looking forward to the challenge.

“It wasn’t an easy decision when Chris and Mohit spoke to me about taking on the district manager’s role,” she said.

“I really enjoy coaching schoolgirls and I don’t want to give that up, but it’s an opportunity and I’ve decided to give it a go.

“We (the board and Knight) will look at the situation around Christmas and if it’s working for both parties we’ll have further discussions on the job. Basically this is a trial basis to see if it’s something that I want to do and if the board wants me to carry on.”

The Poverty Bay club cricket season is scheduled to start on October 15.

MEL Knight has been appointed Poverty Bay cricket district manager on an interim basis following Mohit Rao’s decision to leave the district.

“I’m finishing due to personal and family reasons,” said Chenna-born Rao, who was a year into his two-year contact.

“It’s has been a great pleasure to be part of the Poverty Bay cricket family and I thank everyone from clubs, schools, players, parents, teachers and the media for all their support. I wish everyone the very best for this season.”

Poverty Bay Cricket Association chairman Chris Slater said the board was disappointed with Rao’s decision “but fully understand and support his reasons”.

“Mohit has been a very engaging district manager and brought with him a lot of energy and a new way of thinking to cricket and the way it is delivered for schools, fans and players alike.

“The timing is unfortunate as there was so much more that he and the board had wanted to achieve.”

Former Otago Volts assistant coach Rao came to New Zealand 14 years ago following spells of coaching in Hong Kong and India.

“I have enjoyed my time in Gisborne, even though it’s been short. There are a good group of people on the board and in the cricket community.

“We (the board and high performance coach Lance Cairns) are not where we want to be but sometimes things take time.

“Lance and I have been keen to see players identified at an earlier age and then attend sessions at the Poverty Bay high performance academy, but we need an indoor centre so players can work on skills and techniques all year round.

“The board is pushing for an indoor centre and it would be great if it can get one.”

Rao said he was confident Knight would do a good job.

“She’s got good communication skills. She wil make mistates as she goes along — we all do — but it’s about learning from the mistakes and improving along the way.”

Slater said Knight’s interim appointment was “an easy decision for the board”.

“Mel has our full confidence. Given her experience, knowledge and contribution to Poverty Bay cricket, it is a natural progression for her. This will be a challenging role for her but she is excited at the opportunity.

“From a Poverty Bay cricket perspective, it’s business as usual. We have a big season coming up and many programmes to roll out that have been developed by the team under the guidance of Mohit.

“The Board wish Mohit all the best in his future endeavours. He has made an outstanding contribution to PB cricket in the short time he has been here and he will be missed.

“He assures me he will be in regular contact and will follow the fortunes of PB closely.”

Knight, the Poverty Bay women’s player-coach and women’s development officer and a member of the Northern Spirit squad, said she was looking forward to the challenge.

“It wasn’t an easy decision when Chris and Mohit spoke to me about taking on the district manager’s role,” she said.

“I really enjoy coaching schoolgirls and I don’t want to give that up, but it’s an opportunity and I’ve decided to give it a go.

“We (the board and Knight) will look at the situation around Christmas and if it’s working for both parties we’ll have further discussions on the job. Basically this is a trial basis to see if it’s something that I want to do and if the board wants me to carry on.”

The Poverty Bay club cricket season is scheduled to start on October 15.

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