Cricket: Lloyd's new deal as England coach

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David Lloyd has been given a new contract to stay as England coach. The England and Wales Cricket Board have extended Lloyd's original two- year agreement, which means that he will stay in charge through to the World Cup in 1999.

It also covers this winter's tours to Sharjah and the West Indies, next year's trip to Australia and home series against South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. It represents a huge vote of confidence for Lloyd despite the losing series against Australia last summer.

"There is no doubt that David has brought a real vitality since he took over at the start of the 1996 season and the team have responded positively to his methods," the ECB chief executive, Tim Lamb, said. "The extension of his contract is well merited and will help to ensure the continuity that is so vital to the success of any team."

"I was delighted to accept the new contract because I feel we are making real progress as a side," Lloyd said. "We now have a structure in place involving the selection, coaching and management of the England team which can only be of benefit to everyone involved in the game.

"And that structure should stand us in good stead for the challenge of a really intensive international programme over the next two years. We should be well prepared, and I'm really looking forward to it."

After leaving Lancashire, where his innovative methods had brought modest success, Lloyd guided England to a series win over India in 1996 followed by defeat by Pakistan.

Then came the traumatic Christmas tour of Zimbabwe, where "appropriate action" - believed to be a private warning - was taken by the ECB chairman, Lord MacLaurin, after Lloyd was involved in a fierce exchange of words with an official of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

However, he has also commissioned an extensive video library on each England player, enabling them to work on their strengths and weaknesses, and compiled a similar catalogue on opponents. It is that attention to detail, victory in New Zealand and a promising finish to the summer after Australia had already won the Ashes that convinced the authorities that Lloyd is good for England.