Vettori to fill McDonald’s void at Phoenix | Ralph Lauren

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Andrew McDonald will now play an advisory role for the Birmingham Phoenix and will be replaced by Daniel Vettori, whom will mentor the team on an interim basis in the inaugural season of The Hundred.

The former New Zealand captain, who claimed 361 Test wickets, will fill the void of Australian McDonald, who is unable to travel to England due to “scheduling issues caused by the pandemic”.

Phoenix have also confirmed Alex Gidman and James Franklin, the current head coaches at Worcestershire and Durham respectively, will support Vettori as assistant coaches.

McDonald will be away with Australia in the Caribbean when The Hundred gets under way next month but is set to be used in an advisory role by Birmingham while also acting as Justin Langer’s No.2 for the white-ball series in the West Indies.

“Unfortunately I am no longer able to travel to the UK this summer and coach the team, which is disappointing but I will be doing everything I can in my revised role to support Dan, his coaching team and the playing group,” McDonald said.

“Dan has been an integral part of the planning and I’m confident we can achieve success in The Hundred this year.”

Vettori, who played for Warwickshire in 2006 and has coached in England previously with Middlesex, said: “I feel really honoured to be asked to step up and take the reins from Andrew this year.

“Andrew has helped build a very strong squad, we’ll continue to communicate regularly and Andrew’s advice and support will be vital to hopefully bring The Hundred trophy to Birmingham.”

Meanwhile, Durham’s Neil Killeen has joined Darren Lehmann’s Northern Superchargers coaching team.

Killeen, assistant to lead high performance coach James Franklin at the Emirates Riverside, has been drafted in by the Headingley-based franchise and will work with the likes of Australia batsman Aaron Finch and England and Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes.

Franklin too will be involved in The Hundred with Birmingham Phoenix, and the Chester-le-Street-based club’s director of cricket Marcus North believes the move can only be of benefit to their employer.

“This a fantastic opportunity for both James and Neil to work in the ECB’s new and exciting competition this summer,” said North.

“Spending a month with two new teams in Birmingham Phoenix and Northern Supercharges will give them a chance to work with some top coaches and international players, which in the long run should benefit Durham moving forward.

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