Donald and McDermott on England shortlist
England have moved a step closer to finding a new bowling coach by naming a five-man shortlist that includes two domestic coaches and three overseas candidates. England leave for the World Twenty20 at the end the end of April and need to find a replacement for Ottis Gibson, who left in January to coach the West Indies.
Allan Donald is the likely frontrunner, having done the job in 2007, but Australian duo David Saker, the Victoria bowling coach, and former fast bowler Craig McDermott are also in the reckoning. According to the Daily Telegraph the shortlist is completed by Dougie Brown, assistant coach at Warwickshire and Stuart Barnes, currently at Gloucestershire.
Saker does not have international pedigree but has been coaching at Victoria since retiring from first-class cricket six years ago and has helped them to consistent success. His elevation, over the other, England-based, low-profile candidates would be a blow to the ECB's own coaching programme.
Barnes has a level four qualification and worked with the England performance programme during the winter which would make the England job an obvious progression. Yet he played just 11 first-class games and missed out on a job as Warwickshire's bowling coach last year.
Given the fiasco surroundings Peter Moores, the former England coach, and his lack of top-level experience, England may be reluctant to promote Barnes at this stage. Brown enjoyed a long career with Warwickshire and has had stint coaching Namibia but would be a surprise choice.
The two most familiar names are Donald and McDermott. Having taken 291 Test wickets and 84 Ashes wickets, McDermott's appointment would be intriguing. He has been coaching alongside Troy Cooley, who helped orchestrate Australia's downfall in the 2005 Ashes before being enticed back to his native country, at Cricket Australia's centre of excellence and has made no secret of his desire for the England job.
"I just put my hat in the ring, I've had an interview and so forth and I will let the process run its course," he told the Herald. "Working at the Centre of Excellence has been a valuable experience for me and also working under and alongside Troy Cooley has been fantastic."
His knowledge of both the Australian set-up and conditions could prove crucial for England as they search for a formula to that can give them hope of defending the Ashes with the Kookaburra ball in Australia in November.
The interview panel, made-up of Andy Flower, Hugh Morris, the ECB managing director and Kevin Shine, the ECB bowling coach, will decide next week so that the position is settled for when England depart for the World Twenty20 at the end of April.