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Cricket: Aussie Saker signs new England deal

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

England's Australia-born bowling coach David Saker has signed a new deal which will keep him on until the end of the 2015 English season, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Friday.

The ECB's statement came less than a day after England arrived in Perth for a tour of Australia where they will look to win a fourth successive Ashes Test series.

Former Victoria and Tasmania paceman Saker, 47, has been widely praised for his work with England's seamers since joining the national set-up in May 2010 and ECB managing director Hugh Morris was delighted to have retained his services in the face of rival offers.

"David Saker has made - and continues to make - an enormous contribution to the success of the England team," Morris said in a statement.

"Since joining us in May 2010 he has worked with - and developed -- an outstanding bowling unit which has been key to winning two successive Ashes series, winning a global event (the 2010 World Twenty20 in the Caribbean) and climbing to number one in the world."

Saker's role was particularly evident during the 2010/11 Ashes tour where England's pacemen, in contrast to some previous series 'Down Under', found a consistently good length on Australian pitches that helped the side to a 3-1 win.

Saker, who replaced Ottis Gibson, now head coach of the West Indies, as England's bowling guru, welcomed his contract extension by saying: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with England.

"I have been privileged enough to have been involved in some memorable moments for English cricket over the last three-and-a-half years and worked with some outstanding cricketers.

"Given the calibre of players in and around the side at the moment and the hunger and commitment from all involved I am very much looking forward to another very exciting period over the next couple of years starting with the immediate challenge of retaining the Ashes."

Saker's new deal comes a week after Australia confirmed former Test fast bowler Craig McDermott had been recalled for a second spell as their bowling coach.

Saker is one of several leading coaches working for an overseas nation, with former England batsman Graeme Hick now a high performance coach at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131025/cricket-aussie-saker-signs-new-england-deal