SYDNEY // Craig McDermott, the bowling coach who rejuvenated Australia’s pace attack before resigning last year, will return to the role for the Test team in a major boost for the hosts ahead of the Ashes series against England.
The former Test paceman, 48, took over in 2011 in the wake of the last Ashes series in Australia, which England won convincingly 3-1 with a string of big batting performances in the face of some hapless bowling from the home seamers.
Getting his bowlers to operate as a cohesive unit and bowl a fuller length with more swing, McDermott fashioned a corps of quicks that savaged India’s batsmen in a 4-0 Test series sweep on home soil in the 2011/12 season.
McDermott stepped down just a few months later, in May 2012, saying the constant travel with the Australia teams was taking a toll on his family life.
His new role will be with the Test bowlers, thereby reducing his travelling commitment, with Ali de Winter supervising the limited-overs teams in a similar role.
“Given the amount of cricket played now in all three forms of the game, we’ve been considering our coaching structure to get the best out of the players across the various formats,” said Cricket Australia’s team performance manager Pat Howard.
“We also feel that with the amount of touring now it is extremely difficult for every member of the support staff to be on every tour.”
McDermott will have plenty of work to do before next month’s first Test with the performance of the batsmen in the 3-0 Ashes defeat in England earlier this year indicating that Australia will be heavily reliant on their bowlers if they are to wrest back the urn.
To add to Australia’s problems, young quicks James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc and Jackson Bird are all unavailable through injury for all or part of the series, which begins in Brisbane on November 21.
McDermott said he was looking forward to working with coach Darren Lehmann and captain Michael Clarke. “There is obviously a huge focus on regaining the Ashes this summer and I’ll work as hard as possible to prepare our bowlers for the challenge ahead,” he said.