Saker named as England bowling coach
The former Victoria fast bowler, David Saker, has been named as England's new bowling coach, after a lengthy search for a replacement for Ottis Gibson, who took charge of West Indies in February this year. Saker joins the ECB following a six-year tenure as assistant coach of Victoria, the state he represented at first-class level on 49 occasions.
In his role as Victoria assistant coach, Saker helped to guide the team to the past two Sheffield Shield titles, as well as four domestic Twenty20 tiles in the past five years. He served as head coach of the Delhi Daredevils during last year's Champions League, following an assistant coach's role with the franchise throughout the initial two seasons of the IPL.
Saker, 43, debuted for Victoria in 1994 before going on to play 23 first-class matches for Tasmania from 2000-2004. He returned to Victoria in the role of assistant coach and co-ordinator of Cricket Victoria's high performance unit, working closely with the likes of Australian internationals Peter Siddle, Dirk Nannes, Clint McKay and Andrew McDonald.
It is expected that Saker will link up with the England team in time for the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean at the end of the month. "I've long held ambitions of coaching at international level so the prospect of working with the England team is something I'm very much looking forward to and excited by," he said. "I've really enjoyed my time as assistant coach with the Bushrangers and I'm now aiming to take my coaching to the next level with the England team.
Saker's duties will include guiding the fortunes of the established frontline bowlers, Stuart Broad and James Anderson, as well as working on the development of young prospects such as Steven Finn, Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Woakes.
"I believe I can offer the England bowlers a great deal and oversee their development at the highest level," he said. "This role will be challenging but there's no question I'm looking forward to working with the impressive crop of bowlers currently in and around the England team."
England's head coach, Andy Flower, said: "David has a wealth of playing and coaching experience and will be a valuable addition to the England set-up. His record with Victoria in recent times is second to none and he has managed the development of a number of top-class fast bowlers.
"We were sorry to see Ottis Gibson leave the position but we believe we've found an excellent successor and look forward to David joining us in the lead up to what will be an exciting and challenging year ahead."
Saker was selected from a shortlist of five candidates - including Allan Donald, who worked with the England team briefly in 2007; the former Australian fast bowler, Craig McDermott; Dougie Brown, the Warwickshire assistant coach, and Stuart Barnes, a bowling coach at Gloucestershire and the ECB academy. His appointment means that Bruce French, who works with England's wicketkeepers, is the only regular member of the coaching staff with an English background.
Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said: "We're pleased to appoint David Saker as England fast bowling coach after an exhaustive recruitment process that included a number of world-class candidates. David's credentials are exceptional and we believe we've secured an outstanding bowling coach who'll take up a vital full-time role within the England team management."