County news December 9, 2015

Arthur on shortlist for Essex coaching role

Mickey Arthur's last major coaching role was with Australia © Getty Images

Mickey Arthur, the former Australia coach, has been shortlisted for the vacant role as Essex's head coach. Arthur is included on an interview list of five coaches that also includes the county's bowling coach, Chris Silverwood, former Essex and Australia batsman Stuart Law, Andy Moles and Paul Nixon.

Arthur, Law and Moles are three coaches with international experience and it is Arthur's pedigree which is the more immediately obvious, involving not only Australia but also South Africa where he spent five years in charge and briefly took them to No. 1 in the Test rankings.

One sticking point in discussions with Arthur could concern the extent of his power and, indeed, the salary that goes with it. Essex are of the few counties that have resisted the general move from coaches to directors of cricket, preferring to control costs and invest a certain amount of responsibility in the traditional cricket committee structure.

Following a successful tenure as South Africa's coach from 2005, when he formed a tight bond with his captain Graeme Smith, he was appointed to the Australia role following their home Ashes defeat in 2010-11.

Although he won 10 of his 19 Tests in charge, he fell out with many of his senior players, particularly during the notorious homework saga in India in 2012-13, and was replaced by Darren Lehmann just three weeks before the first Test at Trent Bridge in July 2013.

Since then, he has worked in both the Caribbean Premier League, where he coached Jamaica Tallawahs, and the Bangladesh Premier League, where he is currently in charge of Dhaka Dynamites. In 2014, he was linked with the Sri Lanka vacancy. Arthur also has experience of domestic cricket in South Africa, with Eastern Cape, and Australia, where he coached Western Australia.

Moles has had coaching stints with Kenya, Scotland, New Zealand and Afghanistan but since his long playing career with Warwickshire ended in 1997 he has failed to win a major coaching role in England.

Law's reputation as a strong-willed, fiercely independent individual would suggest him as an intriguing gamble. He is currently working with Bangladesh's U-19s, having previously coached the full side. His previous position was with Queensland between 2013 and 2015.

Nixon, a former England wicketkeeper, has little coaching experience; Silverwood is respected by the Essex dressing room and undertook a caretaker role in late season after the removal of Paul Grayson in dependable fashion.

Essex were consistently one of the most successful limited-overs sides in England under the guidance of Grayson, but they were repeatedly unable to translate that record into trophies.

Quarter-final defeats in the NatWest Blast and the Royal London Cup - as well as a more predictable failed promotion challenge caused primarily by a lack of bowling depth - led Grayson to be removed in late season after Ronnie Irani, a former England and Essex allrounder, was installed as chairman of the cricket committee.

David Hopps is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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