George Dobell says success as a player does not a coach guarantee at the highest level...
Allan Donald has won some high-profile supporters in his bid to be England's next bowling coach, in succession to Troy Cooley who is returning to Australia after England's tour of India, though his appointment would signal a remarkable turnaround in the South African's coaching career.
Dougie Brown and Nick Knight have warmly recommended their former Warwickshire team-mate for the role, highlighting his superb playing record as testament of his knowledge and experience. A career which produced 330 Test wickets certainly suggests they have a point.
* What do you think? Visit our messageboard and give us your opinion. *
Yet Donald has struggled to carve a niche for himself as a coach. He has a part-time role as bowling consultant in South Africa's version of the national academy and was not re-engaged by Warwickshire after a spell as second XI coach last year.
Donald accepts that he doesn't ". . . come into it with a lot of coaching badges," but hopes that his "experience and passion for the game" will more than compensate.
So it may. But if Donald is so keen to coach, one wonders why he has not earned the requisite qualifications.
Certainly, Donald's CV would appear to contrast markedly with that of Cooley who never played in a Test but has proved that a knowledge of bio-mechanics, psychology, nutrition, video analysis, the art of swing and seam, combined with an ability as a communicator, is more relevant.
Some of the most successful coaches (Duncan Fletcher and John Buchanan, to name but two) never played Test cricket. Success as a player is no guarantee of success as a coach. Passion for the job should be a pre-requisite.
Certainly, reports that Donald is 'favourite' for the role need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Not only have applications for the position not yet closed but Donald's high profile has sparked a disproportionate reaction among some areas of the media. The likes of Andy Pick and Kevin Shine would appear equally well-placed.
Donald, however, claims that he is on a "shortlist of three or four guys". This would suggest one of two conclusions. Either Warwickshire have let a gem slip through their fingers; or England are struggling for quality applicants.
The answer lies somewhere between the two.
Donald held a somewhat nebulous position as second XI coach with Warwickshire last year. He was charged, in particular, with bringing through the county's battery of young seamers but felt that internal politics and a lack of raw ability held him back.
When asked who the fastest bowler at the club was last season, the 39-year-old replied: "I am."
He was informed by midsummer that he would not be re-engaged for 2006, though that is not necessarily a reflection on his abilities.
Several of the club's young bowlers spoke highly of his input but the club already have a respected bowling coach in Steve Perryman and could not justify the expense of another.
Donald's recent comments concerning the England role also raise questions. "The majority of the work has been done by Troy," he said. "I think he has done a magnificent job with the four quicks England have at the moment and to take over something like that would be taking it a step further."
Cooley has also been working with fringe and young players, however. Donald would be expected to bring through the next generation of bowlers, not just provide peptalks to the present squad.
Phil DeFreitas has also announced that he is to apply for the post. DeFreitas is another man looking for a role after a long and distinguished playing career and would no doubt offer much in terms of passion and experience.
The unsettling suspicion remains, however, that many of the applicants for the role have more to gain than give from taking over from Cooley.
The value of an individual is often appreciated only when they depart. Increasingly, Cooley's defection to Australia is looking enormously damaging to the England cause.