Former Australian Batsman reveals his passion to play for Hellas

Mon, Jun 27, 2011 5:09 PM

Former Australian Batsman reveals his passion to play for Hellas
Theo Doropoulos
Theo Doropoulos the assistant coach of Hellas, who is undertaking qualification to play for the national team, explores the good work Hellas is doing to improve performance.

Doropoulos who was born in Perth and is a former Australia under 19 player also played for Western Australia at both Under 17's and Under 19's level, after some promising indications failed to hold down a spot for the Western Warriors team, whom he represented in 8 first class games, so looked elsewhere in his family roots. He also had a spell at the South Shields Cricket Club in the English North East Premier League. He holds the record the highest score in an U19 ODI against England in 2003, scoring 179 off 155 balls.

The former Australia U19 player learnt his cricket in his birth country of Australia, but with Greek roots in his mother’s side of his family has always had a special attachment to Hellas. He is currently in the process of his 100 days qualification to be eligible to play for the national team which he explains his passion behind wanting to play for his adopted country.

“Due to my family connections I have always had an attachment to Greek cricket and always had one eye on the development of cricket in Europe. The President contacted me about seven years ago and we discussed me moving, but at that stage in my life I wasn’t interested.

“I then decided to give it a go as I knew it would be a life-changing experience, living in Corfu and experiencing the Greek way of life has confirmed it was definitely the right decision to come to Greece,” says Doropoulous

Greece have been playing in the ICC European Division 2 Championship in Belgium this week and the 26-year-old has been the team’s manager and also assisting in some coaching.

“I am the team manager, but given my experience I am contributing as an assistant coach, the guys are relatively inexperienced and self taught, so hopefully they can benefit from my coaching and what I can offer here at ICC European Division 2 in a tournament environment,” said Doropoulous.

In order to play for Hellas, with his Greek roots Doropoulous is required to hold a Greek passport (or be born there), and can qualify on the Development Criteria by working in cricket for a 100 days which involves helping within coaching in schools and trying to develop the performance level of cricket. “The qualification involves day to day coaching including a lot of junior coaching which really focuses on the performance side of things.

“I have been working closely with the President, Vice President and the Federation looking at the structure of cricket clubs and what they need. Hellas is a traditional organisation, so alongside the Federation I am really focusing on the practical ways to develop cricket as a part of my qualification,” said Doropoulos.

The Australian explains how Hellas is concentrating on performance within their structure to help improve the standard within Greece, but with some challenges. “It’s well documented that the problems Greece is having now financially, so getting new coaches and building facilities is difficult.

“Coaching in Corfu can be basic and national team training is something that needs to be improved. I have tried to improve this by working with more coaches, which is helping a lot and using different techniques. Many players go to training, but are making the same mistakes; it is trying to eradicate those mistakes in the basics which are key. There is also a plan to develop an indoor facility specifically for cricket, which would be great to have a dedicated facility rather than sharing with many other sports,” says Doropoulous.

When he completes the qualification he will be eligible to play for the Hellas national team and is excited by the prospect of helping his adopted country strive for improvement.

“Looking over the second stage of my career I will hopefully be able to contribute a lot to Hellas and give something back. Assisting in the fundamental new ways in which Hellas are hoping to play the game and to develop the structure is something I am very passionate about and am extremely keen to help Greece improve.

“Educating junior players is a key aspect and hopefully my experience within coaching side and potentially playing for Hellas will help out the development of cricket within the federation, so that we can move forward in a positive way,” says Doropoulos.

Hellas’ performance in ICC European Division 2 has been disappointing and Doropoulos is already focusing on improvements that can be made for the next tournament. “We have a good team here, the older guys are experienced and we have a good leader, it’s just been disappointing.

“However, focusing on how to improve for the next tournament, definitely we would get the guys together a lot earlier and tactically prepare a lot better. I think it is all about getting the right personnel in right areas,” concluded Doropoulos.

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