McDermott returns to Cricket Australia
Craig McDermott is set to once again guide the development of Australia's most promising young fast bowlers. A little less than a year after he ended a fruitful stint as the national team's bowling coach, McDermott is returning to the fold with a role at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Brisbane.
Under an agreement struck between CA and McDermott, elements of his Pace Bowling Australia programme will be incorporated into the CoE, further encouraging the talent identification and educational progress that has been made via a series of clinics held around Australia over the summer.
The major benefit of the arrangement will be that McDermott is again in a position of influence over the nation's best young fast men, having previously enjoyed great success in mentoring the likes of James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc while also overseeing the reinvention of Peter Siddle. Given the poverty of resources currently available to the national selectors in other areas, the strength of the the pace bowling stocks must be accentuated.
"I'll be back working with all the best young blokes in the country again, which will be nice," McDermott told ESPNcricinfo. "Basically I'm working at the CoE. If bowlers come through the centre, certainly the likes of (Pat) Cummins, or if those guys are going on the A tour to England this year, they'll certainly be coming up to the CoE beforehand and I'll have some input with those guys preparing for a tour.
"I'm not sure what will happen with the Aussie team before their Ashes stint but if they come through Brisbane, I'll work with them there. In the meantime, it's been a good thing for me to get back to the grassroots. I just spotted a young guy in Melbourne last week and I've just rung Victoria about having a look at him."
Like most followers of Australian cricket, McDermott's brow has furrowed at the team's poor results so far in India, and he noted the lack of runs had left the bowlers dreadfully exposed in conditions most unforgiving to pacemen. He has remained in touch with Pattinson and Siddle, but was unsure about why the former had been given only two three-over spells on the first bowling day of the series in Chennai.
"I'm not really sure why they did that, I'm not up to speed with the inner workings at the moment, but it looked a bit odd to me as well," McDermott said. "If they were worried about his workloads, why would they pick him? Other than that he has bowled pretty well over there so far.
"Hopefully he can back-up for the third Test, they've got a week off between matches, so I'd suggest they'll be having a spell and trying to get up for Mohali."
McDermott's role will include travel on numerous Australian Under-19 tours, and also a visit to India later this year with a delegation of young prospects to bowl at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. There are also plans for the setting up of a series of junior academies in Brisbane, Townsville, Mackay, Gold Coast, Sydney, Lismore and Melbourne, each catering for up to 30 players so internal trial matches may be played.
"That's going to keep us pretty busy," McDermott said. "The academies are proper athlete development programmes with physio screening, strength and conditioning programmes, and focus on developing life skills as well as their cricket skills."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here