South African legend Allan Donald believes Tim Southee could become the best swing bowler in world cricket within the next 12 months.
Former fast bowler Donald has been working as the Black Caps' bowling coach at the World Cup after signing a short-term contract in January.
Since starting to work with Donald, Southee has improved out of sight and before Friday's quarterfinal in Dhaka had taken 21 wickets in his last 11 matches.
The 22-year-old is bowling with an aggression that was once missing from his game and Donald said he had all the attributes to become a great cricketer.
"When I sat in my hotel room in Christchurch when I first arrived in New Zealand to start my job, I sat there for about three days and watched Tim operate against Pakistan [in the second test at the Basin Reserve]," Donald told Sunday News.
"I know the wicket was very flat but I just liked straight away what he offered.
"The first thing I said to him when I met him was – `I want you to take the responsibility of leading this attack. As young as you are, I want you to take that responsibility because you could become the best swing bowler in world cricket in the next year or so'.
"`I want you to believe that but also it's what you do on the field and off the field that will determine the respect you get'."
Donald said that while it was still early days, Southee had embraced his methods and seemed as if he was finally starting to believe in his own abilities.
"He's engaged in a lot more conversation now in terms of saying this needs to be serious," Donald said.
"He's got some white-line fever about him and I think he wants it. He really wants it and I think he wants people him to want it even more.
"That's really all I've done. I haven't changed his style of bowling, although I think we can improve that.
"I think he can add the inswinger to right-handers and that's something I need to bring to his game to add some variety."
After the World Cup, Donald will return to South Africa. His contract with New Zealand Cricket will be up but he's already commenced talks with CEO Justin Vaughan to stay on.
Coach John Wright and the players want him to stay and Donald said he felt his work with the New Zealand bowlers was unfinished.
"The World Cup needs to be done and dusted first before we start talking about whether I'm going to stay on," he said.
"John wants to go home and he wants to express his vision to New Zealand Cricket and we'll take it from there."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Who's the best test cricket captain?