Ali de Winter unveiled as new bowling coach
Ali de Winter, the Tasmania assistant coach, has been confirmed as the man to replace Craig McDermott as mentor to Australia's bowlers, after beating Waqar Younis to the job.
The choice of de Winter was likely from the moment Waqar confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that he had been knocked back for the position, with numerous other potential coaches under contract to other countries or provincial sides.
Cricket Australia's team performance manager Pat Howard, coach Mickey Arthur and captain Michael Clarke had taken a close look at de Winter's ways of working during the recent ODI tour of the UK, on which de Winter impressed with his intelligence and affable nature despite the poor results of the team in losing 4-0 to England.
Apart from working out how Australia's bowlers managed to take only 13 wickets in four completed matches during that series, another of de Winter's major objectives will be to help preserve Australia's bowling resources. Injuries have become an unhappy recent tradition, its most recent example having Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and Ben Cutting all unable to take part in the current Australia A tour due to physical ailments.
"We're very pleased to have secured Ali's services for the role from a wide field of international candidates," Howard said. "Ali presented well on how he would manage the role on a day-to-day basis and has impressed through his work with bowlers such as Ben Hilfenhaus and Jackson Bird in Tasmania, and while he was the interim bowling coach on the recent tour to England.
"We feel Ali has skills that will complement those of Mickey Arthur, Justin Langer and Steve Rixon and is well equipped to pick-up on Craig McDermott's previous good work."
While de Winter's ascension to the role may be defined as much by those who were not available for it as those who were - the likes of David Saker, Jason Gillespie, Damien Wright and Joe Dawes could not be considered due to their current employment - it should not be forgotten that he only narrowly lost out to McDermott last year.
"I don't think it is too complicated - it's about having a strong work ethic, building good relationships and doing things like attacking the top of off stump in Test cricket," de Winter said. "I am particularly excited to get this chance, particularly now as Australia has such a deep pool of fast bowling talent with 10-12 young bowlers featuring at the moment.
"There is a great group of young bowlers coming through to complement the experienced names who are also performing well."
Like his fellow Tasmanian bowling coach Troy Cooley, de Winter was a modest first-class bowler, but set about learning how to get the best out of bowlers after his playing days ended. His work with Tasmania has been consistently strong since he became state bowling coach in 2007, resulting in a promotion to be Tim Coyle's assistant while also coaching the Hobart Hurricanes in last summer's BBL.
He has been closely associated with the success of bowlers including Hilfenhaus, Luke Butterworth and more recently Bird, last summer's Sheffield Shield player of the year and a member of the Australia A touring side currently in England.
Hilfenhaus relied heavily on de Winter to correct flaws in his bowling action that emerged as he favoured an injured knee during 2009 and 2010, resulting in a wretched 2010-11 Ashes series. Reconfigured ahead of last summer, he emerged as one of the most incisive members of the bowling attack that routed India, and gave de Winter much of the credit for his resurgence.
"He noticed my action had changed a little bit and realised what we needed to change to get back to where we wanted it. He definitely played a very big role in that," Hilfenhaus said. "I personally find that he is very good technically to me, he understands the way I bowl pretty well, and he picks up things really easy.
"Tactically he is very good as well, but for me personally it is more the technical side of things. I am sure he is having a look at everyone else's actions as well and trying to find ways to help them improve. If I am doing things technically correct, that will help my chances at the other end, and some other people might be different.
"Some people need to be told all these tactics about bowling and these sorts of things, someone like myself I need to be told to keep things technically correct to give myself the best chance to perform my skills. I rate Ali pretty highly and I'm sure once the other blokes have had a bit more to do with him, they'll say exactly the same thing."
Other bowlers like Pattinson and Peter Siddle benefited greatly from McDermott's simpler advice and guiding presence beyond the long on fence during Test matches, but by choosing de Winter, CA have decreed their view that he is the best man to carry on the Queenslander's legacy.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here