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May 3, 2007
It's no secret that Troy Cooley transformed England's fast bowlers, but could his fellow Australian Cathryn Fitzpatrick do the same - and more - for the women by becoming England coach? Cricinfo has learned that Fitzpatrick, who recently retired after 16 years as the world's fastest female bowler, has approached the ECB to register her interest in the vacancy for the lead role.
Former players don't always make the best coaches, but Fitzpatrick has excellent credentials as a coach. She has been involved in the Centre of Excellence in Australia for several years and would be well-placed for the position which was vacated by Richard Bates in April after four years. And she later confirmed: "I'm fresh out of cricket so my knowledge of how the women's game has evolved and needs to continue to evolve is quite fresh. I may just have a few secret weapons as well."
While Peter Moores slipped into Duncan Fletcher's chair when it was still warm, more than a month after Bates stepped down from the role to move to Australia, the vacancy is still wide open and the closing date is still another three weeks away.
But who else, alongside Fitzpatrick, could be in the running? Lisa Keightley, is another recently retired Australian who would make a good candidate. Keightley, the Australian batsman, was appointed the New South Wales coach in 2005, the first full-time female appointed by the NSW board, after working as their female high-performance coordinator.
Clare Taylor, the former England fast bowler, could also be considered. Now based in Otago, she went into coaching after retiring from international cricket and coaches the New Zealand women's team. Whether she'd like to return to England is another matter.
Some may argue that someone who can provide experience of men's cricket - both for its inherent toughness and for tips on how to play the longer game - would be a useful prospect. Bates's input in helping to provide session-by-session insights of how to play Tests as they unfolded was vital, and, as a former first-class player, he was in a good position to do so.
Paul Shaw, a Yorkshire cricket development officer, may not have played first-class cricket, but he would bring good experience as a fellow Super 4s coach, and he has already worked with the ECB Academy developing emerging players. He's currently undertaking his Level 4 badge and is very proactive in his approach to women's cricket.
The interview panel could do worse than to consider any application from Andy Hobday, a former coach at Hampshire, who is now involved in the women's set-up as a Super 4s coach. Charlotte Dickenson and the former England player and World Cup winner Jan Brittin are the other Super 4s coaches and, as such, they could make excellent candidates, too.
Ian Pont, who coaches Essex part-time, is no longer Netherlands' fast bowling coach. Whether his self-styled maverick approach would suit an ECB position is another matter, but he has been heavily involved with Netherlands' women.
With the salary likely to be around a tenth of what Fletcher received, the possible candidates wouldn't necessarily be lured by the lucre. However, as a CV point, an international role is a big tick. Moreover, England have been in the top four teams since international competition began, and they have a young side with some exciting players.
The candidate needs to have ECB Level 3 (or international equivalent) and, as a nod to Fletcher, to be handy with a computer. The ECB are hoping to have a new coach in place by mid-July "at the very latest", to settle in and prepare for New Zealand's visit: their tour kicks off with back-to-back Twenty20s on August 12 and 13.
Four people will sit on the interview panel. McConway; Barbara Daniels, the women's academy coach; Gordon Lord, the ECB's elite coach development manager, and David Parsons, who is the acting director of the ECB Academy.