Worcestershire admit get-out clause in contract February 17, 2005

Moody in running for England job?

Cricinfo staff

Tom Moody: in the running for England job? © Getty Images
Tom Moody, Worcestershire's director of cricket, has indicated his interest in taking on the England coaching job, if and when Duncan Fletcher chooses to step down from the role he has held since the end of 1999.

Moody, who played in 76 one-day internationals for Australia, including two victorious World Cup campaigns in 1987 and 1999, has just one year to run on his current contract at New Road. But the county admitted that he has a get-out clause in his contract if approached by an international side.

On Tuesday, Moody admitted to the BBC's Sport on Five programme that he could be ready for a new challenge. "You strive for the top and the England job - like any other international coaching job - is the top," Moody, 39, told the programme. "Duncan is obviously in the position at the moment and has done an outstanding job over the last five years, but it would be a great challenge to have."

From the moment he joined the team in 1999, Fletcher has set about transforming England from a bunch of international no-hopers who sat at the bottom of the unofficial world rankings to the side that last month became the first non-Australian team to win in South Africa since their readmission.

England are currently the No. 2 side in world cricket, second only to Australia, and Fletcher has been rewarded for his efforts with a rolling contract. But, with an Ashes series looming, there is speculation that win, lose or draw, the fifth Test at The Oval next September could be his last in charge.

Should he choose to step down, Fletcher may be earmarked for the South African job, which is currently held in a caretaker capacity by Ray Jennings. When he is not on tour with England, Fletcher - who captained Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup - has a home in Cape Town, where he coached Western Province for five years between 1993 and 1997. In that time, he was instrumental in guiding the early careers of the South African stalwarts, Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs.

Moody could also be in the running for the South African job, although with John Buchanan's Australian contract expiring at the end of the Ashes, there may be a vacancy Down Under as well. Should one vacancy come up for grabs, it could trigger a major reshuffle in the ranks of the world's coaches.

"The whole English cricket set-up has developed enormously over the last three to five years," added Moody, in recognition of the strides that Fletcher and his two captains, Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan, have made. "All good sides can smell the opponent that is slightly down and go in for the kill. England can do that now. They are in a very strong position."

Mark Newton, Worcestershire's chief executive, admitted that he would not stand in Moody's way if the offer came. "I am a firm believer anyway that you only want people who want to be working with you," he said. "We've always been very open about it because I can't see the point in trying to tie somebody down who doesn't want to be there. Tom's made no secret of his ambitions and you wouldn't want it any other way. We want ambitious people at this club."