CHARLES SALE: EXCLUSIVE - England coach Dene Hills will defect to the Aussies DURING Ashes

09 October 2010 05:58
England's cricket team are in the astonishing position of handing over their head batting coach - and all his inside information on every player - to Australia in the middle of the Ashes series.

Dene Hills, who knows the strengths and weaknesses of captain Andrew Strauss and his team, is leaving his job at the ECB after the second Test in Adelaide to become assistant coach and team analyst for Cricket Australia.

So Hills, 40, who has had access to England's secrets since his appointment two years ago, has the opportunity to go straight into the Australian dressing room for the third Test in Perth on December 16, nine days after the end of the previous encounter.

Insider knowledge: Hills (left) knows all the strengths and weaknesses of Alastair Cook (right) and the other England batsmen

 His switch will be in time for his intimate knowledge of the England set-up to have an influence on the outcome of the Ashes.

Hills' conflicting loyalties can be gauged from his comments after England's Ashes success last year. He said: 'It was an unusual situation being up against the man I know well and still consider to be the best in the business, Ricky Ponting. I had to make sure I walked into the right dressing room.'

The ECB have known for some time that Hills, reckoned to be the best batsman never to play for Australia, has wanted to return Down Under. They have ensured he served his full three months' notice so he could play no part in the Aussies' preparation for the five-Test series.

And they claim there is nothing they can do legally to prevent Hills beginning a new job wherever he wants after his agreed leaving day from England's National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough University.

But it still seems remarkable that the ECB didn't have clauses inserted in the Tasmanian's contract to ensure he couldn't transfer his England knowledge direct to the Aussies during an Ashes series.

The ECB have been in this kind of position before. They lost their highly-rated bowling coach, Troy Cooley, a former Tasmania state team-mate of Hills, back to Australia in the same role after the 2005 Ashes victory in which he played a major role. Cooley has just been appointed head coach of Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

The ECB are expected to name a 'high calibre' replacement for Hills within the next week, but the damage to England's Ashes challenge has already been done.

An ECB spokesman would make no comment apart from confirming Hills' departure in early December.

 There is considerable upset among Football League clubs - led by Nottingham Forest chief executive Mark Arthur - that Premier League overlord Richard Scudamore is effectively deciding how much money lower-league outfits receive for their community spending.

Scudamore has decreed that of the reduced £2.5m-a-year community budget handed down from the Premier League via the PFA, 50 per cent should go to the Championship and the other half be divided between Leagues One and Two, who will be getting just £25,000 per club.

Arthur, chairman of the Football League Trust, and others want to decide how they allocate the cash themselves rather than be dictated to by Scudamore.

A PL source said: 'There has to be criteria laid down so the money is spent wisely. You don't get anything for free.'

Manchester United's annual accounts, revealed yesterday, conspicuously left out any information about the salary of chief executive David Gill (right), when it is a legal requirement to reveal the highest-paid director's remuneration.

United say the Gill figure, believed to be more than £2million a year, is contained in the extra detail that has been filed to Companies House.

FIFA insiders believe Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam is still more likely to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency than Chung Mong Joon, despite the Korean's indication at the Leaders in Football conference that he would do.

Bin Hammam is waiting to see whether Qatar is awarded the 2022 World Cup before announcing his candidature. And, tellingly, Chung swerved a press conference after his speech, to avoid being questioned about opposing Blatter.

Thais box England in England are travelling to Bangkok for an international friendly next June purely to help secure the vote of Thailand's FIFA ExCo member Worawi Makudi for the 2018 World Cup. But if the decision goes against England in Zurich on December 2, the match will still take place.

The game is part of a Thail royal family anniversary celebration and it would be a major snub to pull out, despite the then meaningless match prolonging a long season.

The proposed England fixture against Argentina in Copenhagen on February 8 has still to be officially agreed, more than a month after it was announced. It is expected to be sorted next week.

The appointment of Englishman Richard Worth as chief executive of the America's Cup should ensure at least something like fair play in the controversial yacht race.

Unfortunately, Worth will arrive at Cup holders Oracle's San Francisco base after Sir Keith Mills's decision to withdraw his GB Team Origin's challenge - at a personal multi-million pound loss - because he fears the rules and format of the 2013 event are not a level playing field.

 Explore more:People: Andrew Strauss, Sepp Blatter, David Gill, Ricky Ponting, Keith Mills Places: Copenhagen, Bangkok, San Francisco, Argentina, Australia, Thailand, Qatar, United Kingdom, America Organisations: Football League

Source: Daily_Mail

Trending on the forum