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By Chris Stocks
Chris Silverwood has emerged as the leading contender to become England’s new fast bowling coach ahead of this winter’s Ashes after Jason Gillespie ruled himself out of contention for the role.
Essex coach Silverwood is understood to be England’s preferred choice to succeed Ottis Gibson, who will leave the post at the end of the current Test series against West Indies to become South Africa’s new head coach.
Silverwood has been hugely impressive in leading Essex to the brink of their first County Championship title in 25 years after gaining promotion in his first season in the job last summer.
The 42-year-old has also worked closely with the wider England set-up at Loughborough and made a big impression working as the Lions’ assistant coach last winter under Andy Flower.
Leaving Essex would be a wrench for Silverwood, but if the club do win the title this year he may feel it is the right time to go. Indeed, Essex already have a succession plan in place, with Anthony McGrath, Silverwood’s assistant, a ready-made replacement to continue the progress that has been made over the past two summers.
Other contenders for the role, which is being advertised on the England & Wales Cricket Board’s website, include Middlesex’s Richard Johnson, Graeme Welch at Leicestershire and former Somerset and Derbyshire bowler Steffan Jones.
England want to appoint Gibson’s successor in time for this winter’s Ashes tour of Australia.
However, former Yorkshire coach Gillespie has ruled himself out of the running after admitting he is now settled and happy living back in his native Australia.
“I’m committed to the Adelaide Strikers,” said Gillespie. “We’re pretty excited about the Big Bash coming up in December-January.
“As with everything, you listen if someone gives you a call and says they want to have a conversation but to be honest, at this point, it’s not something I’m thinking about.
“There was a reason why I finished up a Yorkshire; it was to come back to Australia and bring our family and get settled back in Australia and spend a bit more time at home.”
Of the other contenders for the job, it is understood Johnson is a long shot because he would be reluctant to commit to the time away from home.
Jones, who impressed Stuart Broad when he worked as the Hobart Hurricanes’ bowling consultant last winter, is also an outsider primarily because he does not hold any ECB coaching badges.