Welsh Fire coach Gary Kirsten in pole position to be appointed to England test coach role
Welsh Fire coach Gary Kirsten is the leading contender to be appointed England test coach as the deadline for applications expires.
It would leave the ECB needing to find a new coach for Welsh Fire in The Hundred, which kicks off in August.
The window for submissions for the role of England boss officially closes at 6pm on Friday, but informal conversations have already been held and the field of candidates is unlikely to shift at the eleventh hour.
The England and Wales Cricket Board are interviewing for two positions on Monday and Tuesday after resolving to split the red-ball and white-ball roles, but time pressure is most significant on the Test team.
They are back in action on June 2 at Lord’s, where they begin a three-match series against New Zealand, and would like the incoming coach, as well as new captain Ben Stokes, to play an active role in squad selection before that.
Kirsten appears to be the man in pole position, as he was four years ago before being edged out by Chris Silverwood.
Having overlooked Kirsten for Silverwood, the ECB successfully recruited him to front the Cardiff-based Welsh Fire in last year’s launch season.
The interview stage will be led by the recently appointed director of cricket Rob Key alongside Sir Andrew Strauss and chief executive Tom Harrison and take place via video conferencing for those unable to attend in person.
Simon Katich is another live candidate, emerging as the likeliest Australian to cross the Ashes divide, Ottis Gibson’s name refuses to go away despite suggestions that he is committed to his current role in charge of Yorkshire and Graham Ford forged close links with Key at Kent.
Internal candidates such as Paul Collingwood, one of Silverwood’s assistants and recently interim head coach in the West Indies, and Young Lions coach Richard Dawson may find themselves with a better chance of pitching for the limited-overs vacancy. Interest in that should be high given England’s status as 50-over world champions, but a homegrown prospect to work alongside captain Eoin Morgan may be preferable given the likelihood of an overseas appointment in the longer format.
If former South Africa and India coach Kirsten does emerge successful in that race, an agreement would need to be reached over his role as batting coach with Indian Premier League franchise Gujarat Titans.
They are currently top of the IPL table and on course to go all the way in a competition which runs until May 29 – just four days before England’s Test summer begins.
Katich is also tied to the Hundred tournament with Manchester Originals, giving him recent exposure to the English game.
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