Wellington: Former Australian paceman Andy Bichel has emerged as a strong contender to take over as New Zealand's bowling coach after South African Allan Donald decided to pursue a job in his homeland under a new management.
Donald worked as the Black Caps' bowling coach for three months earlier this year and New Zealand administrators had hoped to sign him on permanent basis but, despite a verbal agreement to stay with New Zealand Cricket (NZC), the Proteas decided to become South Africa's bowling coach.
A number of factors point to the possibility of Bichel's appointment although several obstacles need to be overcome, New Zealand Herald reported.
He was also the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009 under NZC's new cricket director, John Buchanan.
Before Donald's appointment, it is understood coach John Wright wanted Bichel but he turned the role down because of his commitments with Papua New Guinea as well as freelance work in the Indian Premier League with Chennai Super Kings and Australian domestic side Queensland.
NZC would need to offer the 40-year-old plenty of flexibility to take the role. He wants to continue living in Brisbane so that he doesn't have to relocate his young family - Bichel is married and has children aged 11 and eight - exactly as Donald's predecessor Shane Jurgensen did. Bichel's most recent role was with the the Stephen Fleming-coached Chennai Super Kings.
He was also the bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009 under NZC's new cricket director, John Buchanan. Buchanan, who coached Queensland when the state won its first Sheffield Shield in the 1994-95 season, said he has spoken to Bichel about the role.
"At this stage it might be difficult to make it work around his other commitments but he still has an interest. I am looking at 4-5 candidates, many of whom also have other commitments and I need to discuss the best way forward further with John [Wright]," said Buchanan.
Bichel is happy to continue the dialogue for now. "I'm working through it with John [Buchanan]. At this stage touring with the Black Caps would mean a lot of time away from home when I'm already away three months with the IPL," he said.
Bichel played Tests and one-day internationals for Australia between 1997 and 2004.
However, Bichel is probably best remembered by New Zealanders as the number nine batsman who top-scored with 64 to save Australia's World Cup match against the Black Caps at Port Elizabeth in 2003.