Australia appoint David Saker as full-time assistant coach
Australia appoint David Saker as full-time assistant coach

Current Victoria and Melbourne Renegades head coach David Saker has been appointed as Cricket Australia’s next full-time assistant coach, and also has a great opportunity to become Australia’s head coach at some point in the next 18 months.

Saker had earlier served the role of fast-bowling coach with England cricket team between 2010 and 2015, before taking charge as head coach of the Victorian Bushrangers and Melbourne Renegades last season.

South African great Allan Donald is right now working as the fast bowling coach with the Australian team on the Sri Lanka tour. Former Australian seamer Craig McDermott left that role after Australia’s unsuccessful World T20 campaign, having helped the national team to the summit of the Test and one-day rankings.

Saker will take over in late September when Australia will travel to South Africa. Bupa Support Team head coach Darren Lehmann claimed Saker’s previous experience would be invaluable.

“David’s experience working around the world with international teams will be invaluable, especially as we work toward the upcoming Indian Test series and the Ashes,” said Lehmann.

“His technical expertise in all facets of the game is a real bonus and very important when working with the young group we have.

“We spoke with a lot of people about this role and really took our time deciding what direction we wanted to go. David’s appointment gives us good clarity in our senior coaching group.”

CA’s Executive General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard said David Saker’s success with Victoria put him in a good position to guide the Australian cricket team if Lehmann decides to take another break from touring in a similar way when Justin Langer filled in during the recent Caribbean tri-series.

“David has had proven success with Victoria in the short time he has held the role, as well as success on the international stage, and that was a key part of the recruitment process,” said Howard.

“It’s a testament to the success of our coaching pathway program in Australia, that Justin Langer and David have been elevated from within the system to senior roles in the Australian cricket team.

“The fact that David has been a head coach previously, also gives us an option should Darren be absent or need a break from touring.

“We anticipate he will lead the Australian team at some stage during 2017.”

This latest move by Saker, however, shows an interesting u-turn since last March when he declared that he “probably wouldn’t be interested” in joining the national team.

“I’ve done a lot of travelling. It’d be a nice job but it probably hasn’t come at the right time,” Saker told News Ltd in March.

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