England had to take Donald chance

Updated on May 31, 2007 03:18 PM IST
This week the ECB said Donald would assist England's fast bowlers on a short-term consultancy basis from the lead-in to the third Test against West Indies at Old Trafford starting on June 7.
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AFP | ByJulian Guyer, Leeds

England coach Peter Moores said the chance to bring Allan Donald in to advise their fast bowlers was one they had to take after the South Africa great was effectively given a five-week trial.

This week the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said Donald would assist England's fast bowlers on a short-term consultancy basis from the lead-in to the third Test against West Indies at Old Trafford starting on June 7 through to the end of the one-day series against them in July.

Moores, speaking after the third day's play in the ongoing second Test here at Headingley on Sunday had been washed out, told reporters: "The thinking was this was an opportunity where we couldn't afford not to have a look.

"I know Allan pretty well, he's been known as a guy who worked very hard at his game. He's got fantastic experience both in one-day international and Test match cricket.

"So for us to have a look at him, and him to have a look at us, and see if it fits, makes sense."

England fast bowling coach Kevin Shine has come under the spotlight since succeeding Troy Cooley last year.

England's pacemen failed to fire for much of their recent 5-0 Ashes drubbing and were largely off-target in the first Test of the ongoing four-match series against the West Indies at Lord's, their drop in form coinciding with the return of the highly-regarded Cooley to his native Australia.

Cooley, who now holds a similar position with Australia, was replaced by Shine, whose role has been called into question amidst suggestions he will soon be concentrating solely on developing up and coming England bowlers.

But Moores insisted the involvement of the 40-year-old Donald, who knows English cricket well from his time as an overseas player with Warwickshire, didn't represent a threat to Shine's position.

"It makes no change at all to Kevin. He is the national lead for pace bowling. Kevin will be his direct line manager. When we do the warm-up for the Test matches, Kevin will still be here with Allan working with him.

"Kevin's worked with those bowlers for 12 months so we don't want to say to them 'here's a load of new information'. We want to filter that in and make sure it's right for the player."

Asked if Donald's role might lead to a permanent position, Moores said: "Budgets and stuff like that come into it.

"If he fits with Kevin Shine and with the bowlers then we will be looking at what opportunities we have to work with him more."

England are well-placed to go 1-0 up in their four-Test series against the West Indies, despite Sunday's washout, thanks mainly to a bowler who has had little involvement with the national side for six years.

Ryan Sidebottom, playing only his second Test since making his debut against Pakistan at Lord's in 2001, was called up after Matthew Hoggard withdrew with a thigh injury.

Left-arm quick Sidebottom took four for 42 as West Indies were bowled out for 142 in reply to England's first innings 570 for seven declared, which featured Kevin Pietersen's Test-best 226 and captain Michael Vaughan's 103 in his first Test after 18 months out injured.

Sidebottom, who began his career at Headingley with Yorkshire before joining Nottinghamshire in 2004, then took two for 12 as West Indies followed-on.

Moores said Sidebottom's performance was also a vindication of county cricket, much criticised for its inability to produce top-class players.

"It's great when somebody comes in and does really well early on. For Ryan it's really speacial, on a ground where he learnt his cricket, and he bowled beautifully.

"In some ways it's quite a fillip for county cricket that he's come out of that and done so well. I'm really pleased for him and he's put us in a good position. You only have to look at Ryan's record to know he takes his wickets at under 25.

"His opportunity has come along when he thought it wouldn't come again. But so far he's grabbed it with both hands and done what he does in county cricket and put the ball in the right areas a lot."

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