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Page last updated at 23:53 GMT, Thursday, 6 January 2011

Fast bowling coach David Saker extends England deal

David Saker
David Saker with Stuart Broad in Adelaide

England's Australian fast bowling coach David Saker has been handed a three-year contract extension as a reward for his success with the team down under.

Saker, 44, succeeded Ottis Gibson in the lead-up to England's triumph in the World Twenty20 in 2010.

After England retained the Ashes in Melbourne on 29 December, coach Andy Flower made special mention of Saker.

The former Victoria fast bowler's knowledge of Australian conditions has played a big part in England's success.

"The depth of bowling talent currently throughout the England ranks is something that excites me and I'm really looking forward to building on the progress we've made," said Saker.

"There is still a lot of improvement ahead for the England squad, including the bowling unit, and I look forward to the challenge of continuing to test the bowlers as they seek to improve and better themselves."

There was speculation that Australia might seek to persuade Saker to return home and join their set-up, in the way that compatriot Troy Cooley was enticed back home after helping England regain the Ashes in 2005.

England team managing director Hugh Morris said: "We are delighted David has agreed to continue in the role for at least another three years as he's a vital part of the England management team and his experience and expertise are greatly valued."

Flower praised Saker's role in retaining the Ashes after the innings victory in Melbourne.

"The Kookaburra ball was much talked about before the game started and there were a lot things said about our bowlers not being able to use it as well as they do the Duke," said Flower, referring to the English ball.

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"But I think you've seen some very skilful bowling from our guys and they've worked very hard at it.

"David has been instrumental in their development and [his predecessor] Ottis Gibson before that.

"I haven't seen many men come into a group where they didn't know anyone and integrate as well as David has - and that's testament to his character."

Saker helped Victoria win two Sheffield Shield titles and four domestic Twenty20 crowns in five years.

He was head coach of the Delhi Daredevils during the 2009 Champions League following an assistant coach's role with the franchise in the first two seasons of the Indian Premier League.

Apart from Saker, Graham Gooch has been assisting the batsmen, Mushtaq Ahmed has been working with the spinners and Richard Halsall has focused on the fielding.



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see also
Saker named England bowling coach
08 Apr 10 |  England
Flower seeks winning Ashes finale
30 Dec 10 |  England
Can England win down under?
19 Nov 10 |  England


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