Paul Wilson, the big-hearted former West Australian and South Australian fast bowler, has been appointed coach of the WA women's team for 2004-05.
The position represents the first step in Wilson's quest to eventually become a first-class coach. "Since retiring in March I've received quite a few offers to take up various roles in not only cricket but other areas of business," he said. "After thinking about things I've decided to develop my coaching aspirations and pursue a desire to coach at first-class level.
"I'm honoured and excited to get the coaching job because it's such a good challenge and a great way to start my representative coaching career."
It does not, however, promise to be the easiest of beginnings. The Western Fury have won only two games in the past three seasons, and the coach's position was billed by The West Australian newspaper this morning as "the toughest job in Australian cricket".
They did, however, beat Victoria and Queensland in the Women's National League last summer. It is hoped that Wilson's involvement will lift both the performances and profile of WA women's cricket, which has recently come under the Waca's umbrella.
"Women's cricket is screaming out for some direction but, along with the amalgamation with the Waca, this is great," said the veteran WA player Zoe Goss.
`Blocker' Wilson took 151 wickets at 30.77 in 51 first-class matches, going wicketless in his one and only Test in India in 1997-98. He has Level Two elite coaching qualifications.
His appointment now finalises all major coaching appointments for Waca representative teams and squads in 2004-05, as per the following list.
Western Warriors Squad Coach Wayne Clark
2nd XI Coach (WA `A') Doug Harris
State U19's Coach Ali De Winter
State U19's Women's Coach Charlie Burke
State U17's Coach Greg Williams
State U17's Women's Coach Adelle Brambles
WACA Pace Bowling Academy Dennis Lillee
The former Tasmanian player and current Waca coaching officer Alistair De Winter replaces Darrin Ramshaw as the state's Under 19s coach. "On behalf of the Waca I'd like to pass on congratulations to each of the coaches appointed," said Rob Langer, WA's manager of cricket operations. "But now that the formalities are out of the way the hard work begins."