Front-runner Jason Gillespie is one of a clutch of candidates thought to have been contacted by the England and Wales Cricket Board about the vacant position as coach of the national team.
The governing body issued no comment yesterday – the eve of the first Investec Test against New Zealand at Lord’s – in response to reports that ECB cricket director Andrew Strauss has spoken to Yorkshire head coach Gillespie on the telephone and further face-to-face talks are in the offing over the next 24 hours.
England are in the hands of caretaker coach Paul Farbrace for the two-Test series against the Black Caps, and he is another feasible contender to replace the sacked Peter Moores.
Captain Alastair Cook admitted at his pre-match press conference that England would ideally like to have a new head coach in place in time for the start of this summer’s Ashes on July 8.
But he insisted it is more important Strauss identifies, and appoints, the right man – even if that process takes longer than initially hoped.
“The thing is that we get the right man for the job,” said Cook.
“If that takes a little bit longer ... we have Farby, a very fine man.
“He has won at international level as well. In an absolutely ideal world, of course we would all agree we want him (new coach) in place before the Ashes starts.
“Everyone agrees on that. But if that isn’t the case ... Straussy has to make sure he gets the right man.”
Ex-Australia fast bowler Gillespie will be locking horns with former team-mate and another Australian with strong links to Headingley Darren Lehmann, as his opposite number, and against his native country of course should he take the reins for England this summer.
Should England not land Gillespie, and the team fare well against the Kiwis, Farbrace – another with a Headingley background – could yet end up with the top job.
“It would be a very hard one to say no to,” Farbrace said. “Despite everything that seems to be going on, the England cricket head coach’s job would be a fantastic one to have.”