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Cricket: Donald ducks new deal

Black Caps coach John Wright is urging New Zealand Cricket to re-appoint Allan Donald as the bowling coach in his management team once the World Cup is over.

The former South African fast bowler's contract will be up for renewal post-Cup. He will have spent just over two months with the national team by then.

He turned down an offer to join England permanently in 2007 after filling a similar role.

Donald says negotiations are open. He left Zimbabwe's champion domestic side, the Mountaineers, in mid-January.

"I'm discussing my future now but I can deal with the details after the World Cup," he said.

It is not a priority for New Zealand Cricket either as they move their workplace out to the Lincoln University campus after the Christchurch earthquake.

Wright wants to see continuity in his regime, regardless of the tournament result. NZC are likely to appease him, given he appears to have a long-term mandate to run the team from those in the cricketing corridors of power and the public.

"[The bowling coach role] is an area we need to sort," Wright said.

"Bowling at the death and in power plays are issues for Allan to keep working on. He is also working hard at our practice intensity and on how to get our players to master different types of deliveries."

The fresh voice appears to have helped pacemen Kyle Mills, Tim Southee and Jacob Oram think about their slower balls, reverse swing and planning their spells. However, the 44-year-old Donald, who retired in 2002 after almost 10 years as a test player, seems to have had the biggest influence on Hamish Bennett.

Donald is keen to keep working with him, regardless of the roasting the 23-year-old has taken for his uncommon front-on action.

"[His action] is one issue I won't even attempt to work on now. It's technical stuff that can be sorted in the off-season. Right now, I don't want to get too much into his head. We have a limited amount of time to deal with what we can control now.

"Hamish is a young bloke, he's learning all the time; he never backs down. But if he makes mistakes, he needs to make them at 140km/h, not 130km/h. He's going to leak a few runs, and we accept that, but his effectiveness is to take wickets and he's got a good slower ball.

"He's showed he can keep coming. It was great to see Brett Lee chat to him after the Australia match - meaning he's hearing advice from others, not just me."

Donald is realistic about the results he's achieved so far, with the Black Caps still looking no likelier to go beyond the quarter-finals.

"There have been no miracles but we've had significant progress in bits and pieces. Consistency will come after the World Cup."

Judging by that, he could be keen to stay.

- Herald on Sunday

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