Bowling great Donald keen on England role

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:South Africa great Allan Donald has said he is interested in becoming England's next bowling coach.

Troy Cooley, a key figure behind the scenes during England's Ashes series win last year, is about to return to his native Australia to take on a similar role with Ricky Ponting's team.

"It would be very difficult, but once you are in a job like this you focus on the job at hand and my passion is to be involved with international cricketers," Donald said Monday.

"It's not as if England is a different territory for me. I've played against a lot of the players.

"They probably know me and expect a lot from me," added Donald, who played county cricket in England for Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

"I think it's just fine-tuning them and playing a bigger role in the dressing room. That would also be a challenge for me as well."

Cooley will travel to India for the forthcoming tour, which comprises three Tests and seven One-day internationals, but England will seek his replacement before his contract expires on May 1 and are due to interview the short-listed candidates after February 11.

"The majority of the work has been done by Troy. I think he has done a magnificent job with the four quicks England have at the moment and to take over something like that would be taking it a step further," Donald also told Sky Sports.

Former South Africa fast bowler Donald took 330 wickets in 72 Tests and, of all the leading candidates to succeed Cooley, he has the most impressive playing record.

But great players do not always make great coaches and Donald faces stiff competition from the likes of highly-rated Somerset coach Kevin Shine and former Nottinghamshire fast bowler Andy Pick, who currently manages England under-19s.

"I don't come into it with a lot of coaching badges to my name," Donald admitted. "But one thing I do have is a lot of experience and passion for the game and from personal experience I have a lot to offer."

Donald is currently employed as a part-time consultant to South Africa's Academy and the prospect of such a national hero joining England may prompt a more permanent job offer from the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

The main task for the England bowling coach would be to work with the highly-regarded pace quartet of Stephen Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones as well as develop new talent.

Donald already knows Hoggard well having helped the Yorkshire seamer earlier in his career when the England paceman spent several northern winters alongside him at Orange Free State.

And former England batsman Nick Knight, who played alongside Donald at Warwickshire, where the South African spent all but three years from 1987 to 2000 and took 1,216 wickets, said his old team-mate was the man for the task.

"I think he'd do a great job if he was appointed," said Knight. When I was captain at Warwickshire I was very keen to get him involved because he has great expertise in that field and has some great ideas.

"He knows bowling inside out and he has great respect in the game. When someone like Allan Donald opens his mouth to talk about bowling, people tend to listen."

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