Andrew Strauss insists appointing an Australian coach of England is an entirely feasible option for this summer’s Ashes.
Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie, currently in charge of Yorkshire whom he led to the LV= County Championship title last year, has emerged as a leading contender to succeed the sacked Peter Moores.
New England and Wales Cricket Board director Strauss described Gillespie as “one of the candidates” during a marathon round of interviews at Lord’s on Tuesday.
Strauss also confirmed no way back for Kevin Pietersen, citing a “massive trust issue” for various reasons which still linger as a result of the controversial batsman’s previous difficulties with both his former captain and his employers.
As for the identity of the new coach – Strauss hopes to make an appointment in time for the start of the Ashes in July – he sees Australian birth as no impediment.
“We’ve had Australian support staff – David Saker as bowling coach, Troy Cooley in the past,” he said. “When people are in the team environment, they’re professional.”
The difference with Gillespie, of course, is that as well as being born in Sydney he also took 259 wickets in 71 Tests for his country, including five Ashes series.
Durham captain Paul Collingwood, who coached Scotland in the recent World Cup, has been mooted as one possible home-grown alternative. But, speaking after his county’s six-wicket Championship win over Nottinghamshire on Tuesday, he said: “It would have to be a ridiculous offer, something I couldn’t turn down.
“If I keep taking wickets and scoring runs and keep enjoying it and bringing some good youngsters through here at Durham, it is going to be a hard thing to give up.”
Pietersen hit back at Strauss and the ECB in his column for the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday night, accusing them, too, of an abuse of trust.
In his column, Pietersen left no one in any doubt about how he felt to have been asked to meet Strauss in a London hotel on Monday – hours after hitting a maiden triple-century for Surrey – only to be told he was no longer wanted.
“I just find it incredibly deceitful what has happened to me and am frankly finding it difficult to understand right now,” he said.
Pietersen returned to first-class cricket this summer, at the expense of the majority of his pre-existing Indian Premier League deal, after new ECB chairman Colin Graves had indicated that could be a route back into the Test team for him following his sacking 15 months ago.
The 34-year-old added: “I have done everything I have been asked. I keep asking myself, ‘what more could I do?’
“I have never hidden my determination to once again represent England – and having played one of the best innings of my career earlier in the day, I must admit I was riding the crest of a wave. Yet it now looks clear [ECB chief executive] Tom [Harrison] knew exactly what Strauss was going to tell me. I messaged Tom after the meeting and asked him why he got me into a hotel knowing precisely what I was going to be told…
“ ‘You talk about trust’, I said. He simply replied: ‘I am sorry you feel that way, Kevin’.
“They have used the word trust to justify not selecting me – well, trust is a two-way thing.”