Craig McDermott with Brett Lee during Australia's tour of South Africa last year. Photo: Getty Images
The man who resurrected Australia's fast bowlers, Craig McDermott, has quit after only a year in the job, leaving the team in the hunt for a new fast-bowling mentor as it builds for the Ashes.
McDermott said the demands of being on the road had played a big part in his decision.
“It has been a very difficult decision to leave my position as the bowling coach of the Australian cricket team, a job I have thoroughly enjoyed since beginning 12 months ago," said McDermott.
“However the team's schedule is a particularly busy one and after looking at the upcoming touring demands, I felt this to be the right decision from a personal and professional point of view.
“It has been a great honour to work with our most exciting bowlers over this period and we have achieved much success. The progression of particular players and the improvement of depth in Australian bowling stocks has been the result of much hard work from both sides and is something I am particularly proud of.
“While I have agreed to provide input through Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence, I am looking to continue my coaching career in a context that allows me further flexibility and will be looking to explore a range of options. I am certainly not ruling out being involved with the Australian cricket team in the future should that fit within the team's requirements."
McDermott's simple "pitch-it-up-and-swing-it mantra transformed Australia's fast bowlers, who were thoroughly out-bowled by England's quicks two summers ago but destroyed India this season.
He also presided over the emergence of an exciting batch of young fast bowlers, including James Pattinson and Patrick Cummins.
Cricket Australia is sure to launch a global search for McDermott's replacement, and is expected to favour someone with Test experience. Former South African fast bowler Allan Donald was in the running when McDermott was appointed, but he has since joined the Proteas' coaching staff, along with Tasmanian bowling mentor Allister de Winter, who played a key role in rebuilding Ben Hilfenhaus.
“Craig has done outstanding job since taking over the role and without doubt will be very difficult to replace. As the Australian public and cricket world has seen, Craig has taken our fast bowlers to another level and his skills and experience will be sorely missed around the group," said Australian coach Mickey Arthur.
“However we completely understand and respect Craig's decision. The international schedule is a particularly busy one and family must always come first. We wish Craig the best and really hope he can be involved with the team at some point in the future."