The England fast bowling coach, David Saker, has been told he is surplus to requirements for next month’s tour of the Caribbean and Ottis Gibson is expected to return for a second spell in the job.
Saker was due to part ways with the England and Wales Cricket Board in September – he had informed them he would not be renewing his contract – but has since agreed a move back to domestic cricket in his home country as the head coach of the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
With that assignment not starting until the English winter, Saker, the only member of the senior coaching setup to be retained after the 5-0 Ashes whitewash 14 months ago, had hoped to continue in his position for this upcoming tour at least.
The head coach, Peter Moores, and managing director, Paul Downton, have now informed him his services will not be required in the short term and an early release looks a distinct possibility.
Gibson enjoyed a two-year stint in the role before the lure of becoming the head coach of West Indies in 2010 proved too tempting to resist for the former fast bowler. The 47-year-old was relieved of those duties in August last year and is available to provide local knowledge in the three-Test series.
His return has been widely tipped. Gibson spent a short spell working with Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad at the ECB’s winter fast-bowling performance camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa, before Christmas.
Gibson’s former Durham team-mate Graham Onions, who is part of the MCC team playing Yorkshire in Abu Dhabi, believes an ability to keep the quicks relaxed and unburdened could make it a solid fit. “Ottis would be a good candidate and will have learned a lot from before,” he said. “And he knows about fast bowling. Some coaches can overcomplicate things but he keeps it simple and is very chilled. There are good coaches out there too, like Richard Johnson at Middlesex and Neil Killeen at my club, so it will be interesting to see which way they turn.”
Saker is understood to be in negotiations with Victoria to turn his Renegades deal into a dual role with the state’s first-class team. He will be joined in Australia by the Yorkshire coach, Jason Gillespie, who will sign a contract to become the coach of the Adelaide Strikers later this week.
The 37-year-old Gillespie has had the full blessing of Yorkshire to pursue this second job, with the county keen to accommodate the man who masterminded a first County Championship title win in 13 years last season and prolong his time with them. In addition, it is hoped he can use the experience to further raise the standard of Twenty20 cricket at Headingley.
Somerset have announced the West Indies opener Chris Gayle will play up to six games for them in the NatWest T20 Blast. The left-hander, who scored 340 runs at the World Cup – including 215 in one innings against Zimbabwe – will arrive in Taunton in late May following the Indian Premier League.
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