David Saker has stepped down from his post as Australia’s assistant coach with immediate effect. As a result, Australia will now have to make changes to their backroom staff ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019 and the Ashes in England that will follow. Saker had joined the team in 2016 after plying his trade with England and Victoria.
Saker’s contract was slated to end after this year’s Ashes but he has decided to discontinue his association with the team. Troy Cooley has been appointed assistant coach for the upcoming series against India and Pakistan.
Cricket Australia’s interim general manager Belinda Clark stated that the “unprecedented schedule” in the upcoming months was one of the reasons behind Saker’s resignation.
“In discussions with David Saker about the needs of the team, and the unprecedented schedule ahead, it became clear to both of us that this was the right time for David to step away,” Clark said. “We will provide further information on the coaching structure surrounding the World Cup and Ashes in due course.”
Head coach Justin Langer said that Saker’s departure is in the ‘best interests of team’
“David and I have had ongoing discussions over the past nine months about his role with the team, and we agreed it’s the right time to head in a different direction in the best interests of the team.”
“I’d like to thank David for his significant contribution, in particular in the role he has played in helping develop a core group of Australian pace bowlers. I wish David all the best for the next chapter in his coaching career,” said Langer.
Saker should be credited for the development of Australia’s current crop of fast bowlers, spearheaded by Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood. Despite the Australian cricket being in turmoil, the pacers have played their part well. But recent turn of events suggested that not all was well within the team as Starc notably had credited NSW’s bowling coach Andre Adams for helping to end his form slump.
Saker, in his goodbye statement, said:
“I’d like to thank Cricket Australia for the opportunity to help coach the Australian Men’s Team over the past three seasons. I’ve enjoyed my time with the team, in particular working closely with a great group of fast bowlers and in time will look forward to a new coaching role.”
Australia’s upcoming assignment is the limited-overs tour of India. They will take on India in two T20Is and five ODIs, starting February 24 in Vizag.