Simon Katich – the former Australian batter – is firming as one of the favourites to take over as one of two England cricket head coaching roles, according to a UK report.
The former excellent left-hander, who spent time at the top of the order and in the middle, was singled out as the emerging – and leading – candidate to take over from Chris Silverwood.
Silverwood was one of many, including former Director of Cricket Ashley Giles, who was sacked following the Ashes humiliation.
One of the key pieces of the jigsaw puzzle was the announcement of Rob Key — a former England top order batter who spent years dominating County Cricket with Kent — as their new DOC.
Key spent the entirety of March alongside Katich commentating on the three-match Test series between Australia and Pakistan.
Now, the UK Telegraph says Katich, who played the last of his 56 Tests in 2010 and averaged 45.03, is being spoken about as a strong contender for one of two head coaching roles.
Key is said to want to split the roles between the Test coach and short-form coaches and while the bulk of Katich’s coaching career has been in white ball cricket he is firming for the Test role.
“Katich is regarded as a tough and tenacious coach, in keeping with his style during his playing career,”The Telegraph writes. “Should England decide to split the head coaching role, and appoint separate red and white-ball coaches, Katich could be a contender for either job, but appears much likelier to be the red-ball coach.”
Up until now, Justin Langer has been considered the leading candidate to take over as England coach following Australia’s success either side of the new year in red and white-ball cricket.
Like Key, Katich spent years playing in County Cricket and knows the competition well.
The Australian, who averaged 52.84 in first-class cricket and hit 58 centuries, played for five County sides – Durham, Yorkshire, Hampshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire – as an overseas player.
He also was known as a player to bat time and was considered a skilled accumulator of runs – something England’s batters desperately need a lesson in, with Jonny Bairstow the only Englishman to score a century across the recent Ashes campaign.
Only former England captain Joe Root averages more than 40 in Test cricket with the bat in England’s wider squad, with a number of the current crop of talented players like Zak Crawley and Ollie Pope unable to convert starts into meaningful contributions with their impressive array of shots often proving their undoing.
Katich, who knows Australian cricket like the back of his hand, would give England a ruthless and uncompromising mentor ahead of next year’s Ashes.
The former prolific run-scorer also knows what it’s like to be in-and-out of international cricket, having been dropped three times throughout his career — the final which was a controversial decision after being one of Australia’s best in 2010.
Since retiring, Katich, 46, has spent time in numerous coaching roles, including at the GWS Giants in the AFL.
More recently, he coached the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL from 2019 to 2021.
He is the current head coach of the Manchester Originals in The Hundred.