Craig McDermott. Photo: Getty Images
CRAIG McDermott, the architect of Australia's production line of world-class pacemen, has cut formal ties with Cricket Australia and opened his own travelling fast-bowling school aimed at the next generation of quicks.
The former Australia spearhead was credited with masterminding Australia's overwhelming dominance of India's much-vaunted batsmen last summer, and with guiding the likes of Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Patrick Cummins and Mitchell Starc to international prominence.
Since stepping down as the Australian team's full-time bowling coach in May he continued in a consultancy role at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence, culminating in a coaching position with the Australian under-19s team at the World Cup in August before linking up with Ireland at the World Twenty20.
He is now branching out, launching a clinic roadshow called PACE Bowling Australia, a development that serves to benefit those younger bowlers who come under his tuition but, as a result of his departure from CA, could deprive Australia's next tier of elite quicks of his input.
His company's clients are unlikely to be limited to young Australian bowlers either, with interest already lodged from India for him to conduct clinics at its academies.
"It's pretty exciting for us to be able to get down to the grassroots level between the age of eight and 18," McDermott said. "I feel that there is a real gap there in our coaching and in our talent ID and in our coach education in that area, so that's what our company is going to be aiming towards.
"We're trying to run about 60 or 70 clinics Australia-wide every year and we'll try to expand that from pace into spin and possibly batting down the track.
"It's about trying to prepare our players earlier, to try and educate them from a strength and conditioning and mental point of view. It's something that I've wanted to do for a while. It's a good opportunity for a lot of young bowlers around the country that we can be involved with."
McDermott's privately run clinics will feature video technology examining the physical strength and weaknesses of teenage bowlers and their actions, aimed at trying to avoid injuries as they progress.
Cummins, ruled out for a second successive home summer with stress fractures of the back, is also tipped to be a subject of this analysis when he recovers. McDermott is interested to know the results on the injury troubled 19-year-old.
"My knowledge of Pat, his counter-rotation and lateral-flexion numbers, certainly over a two-year period while I was involved with him, his actual numbers came down, they weren't in a dangerous zone to start with and they certainly came down from that and his speed went up," he said. "It will be interesting to see what gets uncovered in six or seven months when he can bowl again."
McDermott was in the training nets at the Gabba on Wednesday, watching closely over Pattinson, Siddle, Starc and Ben Hilfenhaus as they put the finishing touches on their preparation for Friday's first Test against South Africa.
He maintains a close relationship with those bowlers, keeping in touch with them regularly, and believes they have what it takes to outshine the Proteas' highly rated trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel in the three-Test series.
"I think the Australian bowling attack is equally good if not better," he said.
"They've probably got a bit of experience on their side but this attack has shown last year with Hilfenhaus, Siddle and Pattinson . . . we knocked India over eight times out of eight. I'm sure they're up for the fight.
"Their preparation has been good and I think they can knock the South Africans over."