Steve Rhodes: Worcestershire director of cricket to lead England at Under-19 World Cup
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes has been appointed as interim head coach of England Young Lions at the Under-19 World Cup.
The Yorkshireman, 53, has replaced Andy Hurry, following his appointment as Somerset's new director of cricket.
Rhodes will lead pre-Christmas warm-weather training in Spain and South Africa before embarking on the month-long trip to New Zealand on 2 January.
This follows the appointment of Rhodes' assistant Matt Mason to an ECB role.
Following Worcestershire's promotion back to Division One in the County Championship, Australian Mason had also been invited by the England and Wales Cricket Board to work on their winter pace programme.
He will work with a seven-man squad that includes Worcestershire youngsters Josh Tongue and George Scrimshaw.
"Losing Andy at the start of a busy and challenging winter left us needing to find a high-quality replacement," said ECB performance director David Parsons.
"We are grateful to Worcestershire for allowing Steve to join us. He is a highly experienced and respected coach as a result of his success with Worcestershire. His appointment allows us to take our time over searching for a permanent successor to Andy.
"Steve has already made a significant contribution through his work with England Lions in their training camp in Dubai and white-ball series against Pakistan A in the winter of 2015-16. He has also spent time with the senior England set-up over the last two summers.
"Worcestershire have an outstanding record of contributing players to all levels in recent years, with five involved again this winter - including Adam Finch and Dillon Pennington in the Young Lions squad."
Pears line up alternative to Hastings
Worcestershire may have to look elsewhere for another main overseas signing in 2018 following Australia all-rounder John Hastings' decision to concentrate only on T20 cricket.
Hastings, 31, was absent for a month early this season on Champions Trophy duty before then missing the final six weeks of the Pears' promotion-winning campaign with a foot injury.
The former Durham player - capped once by Australia at Test level, 29 times in one-day internationals and nine times in T20 - had been due to return to New Road for a second summer, but he has chosen to retire from first-class and one-day cricket with a back injury.
Hastings would consider returning to New Road for the T20 Blast, but that role was taken this season by New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner, who is 13th in the ICC T20 world rankings.
"John is going to be playing in the Big Bash for Melbourne Stars," said Rhodes. "He wants to come and play in the T20 for Worcestershire, but he understands we have to consider all our options in terms of our overseas players for 2018.
"He was signed up with us for two years and was desperate to come back next summer, but he will now be concentrating on purely playing 20-over cricket.
"He is a top bloke and made a big impression on our dressing room. I know people like Josh Tongue have praised the part he has played in their development."
Hastings told cricket.com.au: "Trying to get back after four shoulder reconstructions, four major ankle operations and a major knee operation has just worn me down. The body is just giving up.
"Every time I try to get back to four-day cricket or one-day cricket, it seems as if something else goes.
"It was a tough decision, one that wasn't made lightly, but I've decided to give the two longer formats away and focus on T20. I've still got a bit left in the tank."