Names in the frame
ECB want new man in charge by the start of a busy summer schedule
By Rob Lancaster. Last Updated: 08/01/09 12:23pm
Flower: Leading contender
With Peter Moores' departure from the role of England coach on Wednesday leaves the ECB facing a tough decision ahead of a crucial year.
Whilst a temporary replacement will be found for the upcoming tour to the West Indies, a permanent appointment is expected in time for the start of the summer.
An Ashes series looms large on the horizon while there is also an ICC Twenty20 World Cup to come on home soil during 2009.
So who are the major candidates for the role? We take a look at some of the names in frame, as well as offering a few outsiders who could come under consideration.
Already part of the national set-up as a batting expert, Flower was reported to have been offered the opportunity to take over the top coaching job on a temporary basis for the trip to the Caribbean. However, a major stumbling block in terms of his long-term appointment could be any allegiance to former boss Moores. The former Zimbabwe left-hander certainly has an international pedigree having scored over 10,000 runs in Test and ODI's.
Is it possible that in the space of just four years Giles could go from Ashes-winning player to England coach? A recurring hip problem forced his retirement from playing two years ago but he quickly moved into management by becoming director of cricket at his county, Warwickshire. The move paid off last summer as he steered the Bears back to Division One in the four-day format. He has also been involved with England in recent times as a part-time national selector but this vacancy may have come too soon for him.
The former Australia all-rounder was one of the leading contenders for the position when Duncan Fletcher's reign came to an end after the 2007 World Cup. At that stage Moody had led Sri Lanka all the way to the final and was believed to be keen on the England job having settled in the country during his time with Worcestershire. Instead Moores was deemed the man, and Moody decided to accept the chance to return home and coach Western Australia, somewhere that he plans to remain for the foreseeable future.
Whatmore is a much-travelled coach who has excelled in the one-day game, an area where England certainly have room for improvement. He has enjoyed two spells in charge of Sri Lanka, his first including their stunning World Cup win in 1996, and was last on the international scene with Bangladesh. Since then he has been working at India's National Cricket Academy, though he would surely jump at the chance of returning to the top level of the game. If the ECB want someone with experience Whatmore, who was in charge at Lancashire during the late 1990s, could be their man.
The South African looked to the leading contender for the role when it seemed likely that Kevin Pietersen would still be the captain, as the pair had worked together at Natal. Andrew Strauss' sudden appointment does not mean that Ford is now out of the running though - and neither should the fact that Kent were relegated from the top flight last summer under his leadership. As well as knowing the county game, Ford has experience of the international scene having enjoyed a successful spell of South Africa that saw the Proteas win eight of the 11 series they played while he was in charge. His CV impressed both India and New Zealand when they were searching for a new coach, though the 48-year-old ended up in neither role.
If the ECB want another Englishman at the helm of their national side then few could have pressed their claims in recent times than Cook. The Middlesbrough-born opener led Durham to their maiden trophy as a first-class county in 2007 with victory in the Friends Provident Trophy final before then going one better the next summer, as they ended up as Division One champions in the longer format of the game. He has been with the north east county since 1991 and has helped mould several internationals through the ranks, not least Steve Harmison.
As unlikely as a return for the former England coach may be, there can be no doubting the fact that a lot of cricket fans would like to see the powers-that-be bring back a man who helped the national team rise from some of their darkest days to claim the Ashes at the end of one of the most remarkable Test series ever seen on English soil. Such memories make it easy to forget that Fletcher finished with a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Australia and a disappointing World Cup campaign. He has since taken on roles with Hampshire and South Africa and may not be keen to step back in the firing line.
And the rest...
Shane Warne and Stephen Fleming are two outside shots. Both demand instant respect as two of the best cricketing brains from the modern era. Both have now had a break from the international arena since making their farewell appearances. The appointment of Warne, for so long England's tormentor, would be sensational news, particularly with his first series in charge being against Australia. Like Flower, Ottis Gibson is another already in the set-up having been installed as bowling coach by Moores, whilst there will always be public support for former internationals, particularly Sky Sports' commentary trio of Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd and Sir Ian Botham.