London: The England and Wales Cricket Board has apparently given the green light to approach Graham Ford to become the cricket team"s new coach.
South African Ford is the bookies" favourite to replace Peter Moores, who looks increasingly likely to lose his job this week following a bust-up with captain Kevin Pietersen.
Kent for whom Ford is their director of cricket, has said that it would not stand in his way if the England job came knocking.
Ford has been Pietersen"s mentor since he was a schoolboy in South Africa and would be his No 1 choice to succeed Moores. The pair still text and speak regularly.
Kent chief executive Paul Millman said: “Graham has been linked to a number of jobs in the last year or so, such as India and New Zealand.
“We were thrilled when he was asked to visit India to see what the job involved. So far, he has been incredibly loyal, but our position has always been that if Graham or any member of staff has a great career opportunity, we wouldn"t stand in their way.
“We"ve never put on the shackles or told people they have contractual obligations at Kent," The Sun quoted Millman as saying further.
Ford was coach of South Africa between 1999 and 2001 and won eight out of 11 Test series — his only two losses were against Australia at their peak.
Kent captain Rob Key said: “We"ve been doing well here and I think Graham is really enjoying himself.
“His record in international cricket is unbelievable. He is a fantastic coach and great for a talented group of players such as you find at international level. I don"t know of anyone who has a bad word to say about him. Certainly, nobody at Kent. Coaches are like players. They want to work at the highest level and the fact he has been tapped up so much is a credit to Graham and Kent."
Ford, 48, returns to South Africa each winter and runs an academy in Durban. He will be back with Kent in March.
Pietersen regards Ford so highly he invited him to write a passage in his autobiography 'Crossing the Boundary" published in 2006.
England boss Hugh Morris is due to meet Moores and Pietersen at the end of the week after KP returns from his safari holiday in South Africa.