Australia [ Images ] cricket suffered a major blow on Friday when Craig McDermott decided to step down as bowling coach after just a year in the job because of the demands of touring with the side.
McDermott has overseen a transformation in Australian pace bowling in the last year, rejuvenating seasoned campaigners like Ben Hilfenhaus [ Images ] and Peter Siddle [ Images ] and introducing exciting new talents like Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.
"It has been a very difficult decision to leave my position as the bowling coach of the Australian cricket team, a job I have thoroughly enjoyed since beginning 12 months ago," he said in a Cricket Australia media release.
"However, the team's schedule is a particularly busy one and after looking at the upcoming touring demands, I felt this to be the right decision from a personal and professional point of view."
McDermott took over last year after the humiliating home Ashes defeat and set about revitalising a bowling unit which had been ruthlessly put to the sword by the English batsmen.
Bowling with much more discipline and clear strategies for individual batsmen, Australia's seamers succeeded in suffocating India's [ Images ] celebrated batting line-up and were instrumental in the 4-0 test whitewash around the turn of this year.
"Craig has done outstanding job since taking over the role and without doubt will be very difficult to replace," coach Mickey Arthur said.
"As the Australian public and cricket world has seen, Craig has taken our fast bowlers to another level and his skills and experience will be sorely missed around the group.
"However, we completely understand and respect Craig's decision. The international schedule is a particularly busy one and family must always come first."
McDermott, who in his career as a quick bowler took 291 wickets in 71 tests for Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said he would continue to "provide input" through Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence.
"It has been a great honour to work with our most exciting bowlers over this period and we have achieved much success," he said.
"The progression of particular players and the improvement of depth in Australian bowling stocks has been the result of much hard work from both sides and is something I am particularly proud of."
Photograph: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images