McKay praises Saker’s influence
Australia seamer Clint McKay has paid tribute to the role his former mentor David Saker is playing in England’s pace bowling attack.
Saker was tasked with the job of coaching a unit which includes James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn when he was appointed England’s fast-bowling coach in 2010.
Under his guidance, England clinched the World Twenty20 title, won the Ashes in Saker’s homeland for the first time in 24 years and moved to the top of the rankings in both the Test and T20 formats.
Prior to that, Saker was involving in a coaching capacity with Victoria, the Australian state that counts 29-year-old McKay among its ranks.
“Me and David Saker have known each other for a long time. He's been fantastic for my career, obviously being a Victorian he worked with us for a long period of time and was fantastic,” McKay said.
“No wonder England's bowlers are bowling so well at the moment and have so many bowlers around.
“They are bowling a full length, getting the ball to swing and that's one of his (Saker's) big strengths. He's great at summing up batters and his knowledge of the game he seems to have passed on to the English bowlers.
“There is no doubt they have gone on leaps and bounds since he has been involved in the set-up.”
The quartet of Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and Finn were instrumental in the second NatWest Series one-day international victory over Australia at the Kia Oval, sharing eight wickets evenly between them.
But any hopes they had of spearheading England to a series whitewash, a result which would have seen them usurp Australia at the top of the 50-over rankings, were dashed yesterday when the third ODI was washed out at Edgbaston.
McKay is now keen for Australia to level the five-match rubber by emerging victorious from the final two encounters and show just why they hold the number-one spot.
“We are going for 2-2 and to draw the series so we can walk out of here with our heads held high,” he stated.
“Every game we play for our country we want to win and want to stay at number one. We will do everything within our powers to stay there.”
McKay admits he is enjoying being part of the tour in spite of the results, something which he believed was virtually impossible when he sustained a serious foot injury in January 2011.
“Looking back on where I was 18 months ago, I never thought I was going to play cricket ever again, let along playing international cricket,” he conceded.
“I had a bad injury and broke my foot. The surgeon said 'if all the bone doesn't take time to heal then I wouldn't be able to walk or run again in five or six years time anyway'. So to be back out playing international cricket, I just take every day as it comes.
“You always take setbacks, but you always bounce back and try and play as much as I can. It's fantastic now, as strong as ever.”