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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 14:41 GMT
Donald backs Woolmer for England
By Andrew McKenzie

Allan Donald (left) and Bob Woolmer
My approach is slightly different to that of Duncan Fletcher in that I tend to intervene more in technical issues than he does

Bob Woolmer
Former South Africa star Allan Donald says his former coach Bob Woolmer would be an ideal candidate for the England job if Duncan Fletcher stands down.

Woolmer, currently with Pakistan, has admitted interest in the England post.

Donald told BBC Sport: "I can't think of a more experienced coach to take over the job if it was to come along.

"He is such a dedicated bloke, very professional, he understands the England system very well and will set new challenges for an England squad."

In the wake of the team's 5-0 defeat in Australia, the first Ashes whitewash for over 80 years, present coach Duncan Fletcher has promised to review his position before the start of the county season.

Woolmer, 58, who played 19 Tests for England and was tipped for the coaching job in 1999, will be out of contract at the end of the World Cup in April.

And he was quoted in the Times as saying: "I have always been proud of playing for England and just missed out on coaching them [in the past] because the timing was not right.

"I was part of a side that beat Australia as a player and have a yearning to do so as a coach."

BBC Sport's Andrew McKenzie

Woolmer and Donald were together for three successful years at Warwickshire, winning the Nat West Trophy in 1993 and three trophies in 1994.

After five years with South Africa, Woolmer worked for the ICC as its high-performance manager before taking charge of Pakistan in 2004.

Donald feels the coach, who he describes as his "mentor", would welcome the challenge of turning around England's fortunes.

He added: "I think it is probably one of the biggest jobs in the world.

"England is a massive, massive job and if he gets the right support staff - and Bob is huge on things like that - then I think he is halfway there and he can do it.

"It is a very difficult one. To come from where England was when they won the Ashes, and where they are now which is pretty much rock bottom.

"Bob Woolmer is one of those people that likes those challenges. Like Pakistan - he saw that as a massive challenge and he has achieved something with them.

He is almost 60 and maybe there is a question about that, but in terms of experience you can never take it away from the bloke

Allan Donald

"He has changed a few things and taken a few people out of their comfort zones and maybe that is what England really need.

Should Fletcher decide to end his tenure after seven years in charge, there would be no shortage of high-profile candidates.

John Wright and Tom Moody are two names which have been mentioned in connection with the post, but they cannot match up to Woolmer's experience.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has indicated its desire to tie Woolmer to a new contract, but in a BBC interview last week, he indicated he would be "open to offers" after the World Cup.

Woolmer believes he can continue doing the job until he is at least 65 and Donald feels that his experience would more than make up for any doubts about his advancing years.

He said: "I have watched him here in South Africa and he is still very mobile and getting along with the guys.

"He is almost 60 and maybe there is a question about that, but in terms of experience you can never take it away from the bloke."

Coach Woolmer cagey over future
19 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Fletcher ponders future as coach
19 Dec 06 |  England


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