OCA happy with women’s mentor candidates

Otago cricket is satisfied it has attracted the right person to fill the new fulltime position it has created to help keep the Sparks on top and grow the female game in the region.

Applications for the female performance head coach closed on Monday, and Otago Cricket Association performance general manager Steve Martin said the role had attracted some quality applicants.

The association hoped to finalise the shortlist by the end of the week and would then look to conduct interviews with the aim of "getting a strong candidate in place as soon as we are able", Martin said.

The successful candidate will be responsible for coaching the Otago Sparks as well as leading the performance pathway programme.

Martin, Otago Cricket Association chief executive Mike Coggan, a board member and a player representative will form the interview panel.

Incumbent Sparks coach Craig Cumming could not be reached for comment.

But the former Black Caps and Otago opening batter led the Sparks to victory in the Hallyburton Johnstone Shield last season and under his leadership the side also reached the final of the Super Smash.

Perhaps a greater indication of his value to the team has been the improvements players such as Polly Inglis and Caitlin Blakely have made under his guidance.

Both adopted a lot more risk while at the batting crease and were able to make some telling contributions.

Spinner Eden Carson is another success story. She was Otago’s leading wicket-taker in both formats and has gone on to make her international debut.

If Cumming has applied, he will surely be the leading candidate.

Martin was tightlipped when asked whether Cumming had put his resume in. However, he said the association had been in close contact with Cumming and the decision to advertise the position was not a reflection on Cumming’s performance.

"We are committed to process in terms of appointments, so this is us sticking to the process.

"At every step of the way, I’ve been in discussion with Craig.

"He understands the association is looking to take the support for female players to another level and that we are looking to appoint someone full time."

The successful applicant will immediately be busy with the contracting process. The women’s domestic contracts are expected out at the end of the month.

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