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McDermott returns as Test bowling coach

Daniel Brettig

October 16, 2013

Comments: 20 | Text size: A | A

Craig McDermott and Brett Lee chat during a training session, Cape Town, October 12, 2011
Craig McDermott worked successfully with the national team in 2011-12 © Getty Images
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Craig McDermott has been recalled to mentor Australia's Test match bowlers on the eve of the home Ashes series, as part of a new split configuration that leaves his successor Ali de Winter in charge of the ODI and Twenty20 formats. Personal reasons had ended McDermott's highly successful first stint as bowling coach in 2011-12, but he is now back in position to guide the pace attack sharing the heavy touring load with de Winter.

Following McDermott's instructions to keep the ball up to the bat and tempt the drive, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris and Ben Hilfenhaus all enjoyed significant success during his earlier tenure. During that time Australia won series in Sri Lanka, the West India and at home to India while also taking 20 wickets regularly in drawn series against South Africa and New Zealand.

The team's results have fallen away since, though the pace bowling attack has remained Australia's strongest suit, performing capably in England despite a 3-0 series margin. McDermott took on a range of roles after his departure, coaching Ireland's bowlers at the World T20 in Sri Lanka later in 2012 and resuming work at the Centre of Excellence, where he had first shown promise as a mentor to the crop of young bowlers passing through Brisbane. He also started his own network of coaching academies, but had been eager to return to the national team for some time.

The appointment of McDermott and de Winter to oversee separate formats may not be the last such decision, as the team performance manager Pat Howard seeks to specialise coaches to seek better results but also more chance for support staff to avoid the not-so-merry-go-round of constant touring.

"Appointing coaches to specific roles is something the Team Performance Department has been considering for some time," Howard said. "Given the amount of cricket played now in all three forms of the game, we've been considering our coaching structure to get the best out of the players across the various formats.

"We also feel that with the amount of touring now it is extremely difficult for every member of the support staff to be on every tour. As we've seen in more recent times we've swapped our support staff at particular moments to ensure everyone is fresh and energised and the feedback on that has been very positive."

For his part, de Winter warmed to the greater focus of his new role, particularly with next year's World T20 and the 2015 World Cup creeping closer by the month. "I enjoy both forms of the limited overs game and welcome the challenge of working with the bowlers on specific preparation and tactical awareness for each of these formats," de Winter said. "We have some work to do between now and each of the world events and I'm looking forward to focussing on contributing to returning Australia to the number 1 ranking in T20 and ODI cricket."

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

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Posted by KARNAWAT33 on (October 17, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

Big Craig is obviously a very good choice for a bowling mentor. But, Australia's main concern is the spin department. They have an alley of young pace bowlers who will blossom in the near future, but post WARNE the spinners have been an absolute let down (barring Brad Hogg). Australia till date picks up wickets at the top of the innings. But the main problem is finishing the innings off. The tail enders have been a major problem, which need to be taken care of, for its high time the Urn comes back where it belongs. #OZZE OZZE OZZE! OYOYOY :)

Posted by Clavers on (October 17, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

I agree with all your points Barnsey4444, but I would note that Johnson has already improved his consistency; try finding a bad Johnson bowling performance during the past two years. He should get a bit more credit for that.

But if Billy can get still more out of him, more power to them both.

Posted by KhanMitch on (October 17, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

Gread apointment, can't wait to see him work with our younger bowlers

Posted by Mary_786 on (October 17, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

Great decision CA, he is the bets bowling coach in the country

Posted by Teachers on (October 17, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

Agree with Rabscope, did it need McDermott to teach highly paid fast bowlers something elementary? If pitching the ball up is the right recipe, will the English bowlers not do the same thing? As Dangertroy says, perhaps the bowlers just all clicked a few summers ago. Perhaps Indian batsmen did not adjust to pitched up bowling that the English batsmen may do this summer. Whatever the case, it looks like Cooley and de Winter could not deliver like McDermott did. I just hope he can do it again.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (October 17, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

This may mean McDermott is actually able to tour with the test team also. I can't see too many bad things with this arrangement. Short term if he can reduce injuries and get Johnson to be more consistent we will get 20 wickets most games. Longer term Pattinson, Starc, Cummins and Bird are the future of our test bowling line-up.

Posted by hhillbumper on (October 17, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

well that's it then.England are going to get destroyed by the greatest pace bowling attack ever.Do you want us to put the trophy on a plane and save ourselves the embarrassment? We know that you will destroy us like you have so many times recently.It seems like years since we last won the Ashes. It would appear that with McDermotts secret weapon of pitching the ball up we can just all go home now.

Posted by Matt. on (October 17, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

I'm so happy right now!!! I still can't believe the difference he made in the aussie bowlers the first time round. Best decision CA have made in a long time

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (October 17, 2013, 7:53 GMT)

@Rabscope, Peter Siddle before 2012 and after 2012 are completely different bowlers. That coincided with McDermott's introduction, he is probably the best example.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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