Australia news June 5, 2012

Waqar interviewed to replace McDermott

Waqar Younis, the former captain and coach of Pakistan, has been interviewed for the position of Australian bowling coach, as Cricket Australia intensifies its search for the man to replace Craig McDermott.

Based in Sydney after he concluded a two-year stint as coach of Pakistan in 2011, Waqar is understood to have spoken to CA's team performance manager Pat Howard about taking on a role that was unexpectedly vacated by McDermott at the conclusion of the Australian tour of the West Indies.

Australia's search for a new bowling coach is taking place at a time when many of the best candidates are already tied to other national teams or unwilling to commit to the travel pressures of the job. David Saker, Allan Donald, Joe Dawes and Damien Wright are all employed at international level, while the likes of Andy Bichel and Damien Fleming have said they are unwilling to devote as much time to the job as required by CA.

Another possible candidate, Jason Gillespie, is in his first season as the coach of Yorkshire, while Ali de Winter, who ran McDermott close for the position in 2011, is thought to be enjoying his expanded role in Tasmania as assistant coach of the Tigers and head coach of the Hobart Hurricanes Twenty20 team.

As a part-time member of the selection panel, Bichel saw the improvement McDermott brought to the team, and has said his preference would be for a mentor with proven international pedigree. ''With so many young guys coming through the system, I think you need someone who has played international cricket and who can teach them the stuff in the middle more than the technical stuff, how to get people out,'' Bichel told the Age last month. ''That was one of the great bonuses with Craig.''

Waqar has been refreshed by 10 months off cricket's global caravan. He cited personal and health reasons - both for himself and his wife - when he exited the Pakistan coaching job, but has actively sought a return to coaching with Australia.

Were he to be employed as bowling coach, Waqar would bring valuable knowledge to the Australian dressing room, particularly pertaining to reverse swing, an art the team have struggled to make best use of down the years. Under McDermott, Australia's fast bowlers demonstrated an excellent command of the basics, bowling full, straight and moving the ball conventionally, while also showing tremendous discipline in unhelpful conditions in Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

They will now be looking to build on those gains, and Waqar's mastery of reverse swing, as demonstrated across a celebrated Test match career in which he claimed 373 wickets, would be a useful addition to the team's database of knowledge. His coaching history has included numerous short-term consultancy roles, including with the ECB academy on a tour to India, while he has worked with New South Wales since first moving with his family to Sydney in 2005.

Back then, Waqar had pointed out how much Australia needed a bowling coach, having watched Ricky Ponting's team struggle to match England's results in the 2005 Ashes series. He may now be in line to mentor a highly promising battery of young pacemen over a critical two-year stretch that cultimnates in back-to-back Ashes series in England and Australia in 2012-13.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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