In coaching, hint of reverse swing
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Earlier this year,the Australian board interviewed Waqar Younis for their bowling coach vacancy before plumping for Tasmanian Allister de Winter. A few days ago, New Zealand announced that Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas would assist bowling coach Shane Bond during their tour of Sri Lanka.
These appointments, or near-appointments, represent a small but important challenge to a long-standing, and hopefully unconscious hierarchy in world cricket.
Six of the ten Test teams at the 2007 World Cup had foreign coaches. Australians Dav Whatmore, Greg Chappell, Tom Moody and Bennett King coached Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Englishman Bob Woolmer coached Pakistan, while Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher coached England.
At the 2011 World Cup, five Test teams had foreign coaches. Englishman Alan Butcher and Zimbabwean Andy Flower swapped national teams. Australians Trevor Bayliss and Jamie Siddons coached Sri Lanka and Bangladesh while South African Gary Kirsten took India to victory.
In short, when top-ranked sides looked beyond their borders for a head coach, they seldom, if ever, looked to the subcontinent or the Caribbean. But this wasn't the case with Associate teams.
West Indians Gus Logie and Roger Harper coached Bermuda and Kenya in 2007. In 2011, Eldine Baptiste and Phil Simmons coached Kenya and Ireland while Sri Lankan Pubudu Dassanyake held Canada's reins. Further back, Sandeep Patil took Kenya to the 2003 semifinals.
England have bucked the trend in a small way in recent times by hiring Ottis Gibson as bowling coach and Mushtaq Ahmed as spin coach. Mushtaq is still with England, while Gibson left in 2010 and, as head coach, took the West Indies to a World T20 title. No one from Asia or the Caribbean has been head coach of a foreign Test team. But the successes of Gibson, Mushtaq and their ilk suggest a loud knocking on the door.