A passion for coaching has seen Russell Williams receive a unique opportunity to be involved with New Zealand's elite players.
The Papamoa resident has been given a casual contracted position with New Zealand Cricket as a high-performance resource coach working with Black Caps players, including homegrown stars Kane Williamson and Trent Boult at the Bay Oval and Bay Indoor Centre at Mount Maunganui.
When the Black Caps came to the Bay Oval to prepare and play the West Indies earlier this year, Williams was invited to help with the New Zealand preparation. Further contact followed, with Williams offered a part-time contract to assist the Black Caps whenever they were in the Western Bay.
"My role is pretty casual. Whenever they are in town I am pretty much on call. If they need me I am there. I talk with the likes of [bowling coach] Shane Jorgensen and [coach] Mike Hesson and those sort of guys to try and elaborate a plan from there really," Williams said.
"From another perspective whenever Kane and Trent are home they can give me a call and ask for a session."
Corey Anderson and Tim Southee also own property in Mount Maunganui with other prominent members of the Black Caps in line to follow them.
Williams began his coaching career at the Ben Williams Cricket Academy at Te Puna before becoming an integral part of Bay of Plenty Cricket's coaching team.
Two seasons in Holland as a player/coach in the Netherlands, honed the aspiring cricket mentor's skill set. During 2016, Russell branched out on his own and coached a number of promising age-group players at the Bay Indoor Centre.
"I am passionate about developing and improving young players and get a buzz from seeing the youngsters mature into better quality players," Williams said.
"My goal as a coach is to create an environment where players can flourish and improve. This is an awesome opportunity for my growth as a cricket coach and I am really looking forward to the challenges of working with the cream of the best players in the country.
"I expect to go through a steep learning curve in the next 18 months which will greatly assist my desire to go as far as I can as a cricket coach."
One special young player Williams mentors is Nensi Patel who last week was named Northern Districts Young Female Cricketer of the Year.
The 15-year-old Tauranga Girls' College student made her debut for the Northern Spirit in November 2016 aged 14 and has played 15 games, taking 13 wickets.
Williams first worked with the bowling allrounder when she was just 8.
"She is super-passionate and learns very easily. The things that we work on she pretty much implements straight away. For the age that she is she has an amazing cricket brain," he said.
"She is obviously very talented and can already bowl four to six different variations of seam bowling. It is just a matter of making sure that we nurture her the best way possible."