Buchanan joins search for next coach
The Ashes series has been a tale of two coaches with John Buchanan improving his record and Duncan Fletcher losing ground by the game. Both men may have been involved in their last Tests at the SCG, but Buchanan leaves with the greater reputation after being a key backroom member of Australia's 5-0 victory and a 12th win in a row.
Buchanan's stock is currently so high that Mark Taylor, a Cricket Australia director, said he will be a main figure in the search for the country's next coach. The World Cup in the West Indies is Buchanan's final task in his current role, but Taylor, who is on a committee to choose the replacement, has added to his duties.
"Quite a bit will depend on [Buchanan's] thoughts," Taylor said in the Sydney Morning Herald. "Depending on who we go for, it might be possible for them to travel to the World Cup with John, if they are not already coaching an international team. If that is possible, that would be our preference.
"We have had some informal chats already as a committee. I'm not at liberty to say much more than that, but certainly the one-day series will give us an opportunity to get together in the next couple of weeks to discuss matters further."
Tom Moody, the Sri Lanka coach, and Tim Nielsen, who is in charge of Australia's Centre of Excellence, are the front-runners while Greg Chappell and Dav Whatmore have also been spoken of as contenders. Whoever gets the job faces a huge task to match Buchanan's record of 70 wins from 91 matches.
Ricky Ponting praised Buchanan after his side sealed the Ashes whitewash and waved goodbye to a huge chunk of the side. Apart from Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Justin Langer, Australia have also lost Buchanan and Damien Martyn from the Test scene during the series. Martyn, who went into hiding in Adelaide, was a surprise guest in the Australian dressing room after play and Shane Watson, the injured allrounder, also joined in the celebrations.
Buchanan made three points before the team walked out on the final morning in Sydney - Ponting could only remember two of them - and he will continue to make more until the World Cup. "He's been very overlooked," Ponting said. "We've been a talented side but talented guys don't win you everything.
"He's been responsible for getting the best out of me, out of Langer, out of Hayden, out of Steve Waugh to a certain degree, maybe even a bit out of Warney. And McGrath. All our coaching staff right through the last 12-13 months have been terrific."