Ricky Ponting has joined the Australian back-room staff for the second time and will assist head coach Darren Lehmann for next month’s T20I tri-series involving England and New Zealand.
With the regular assistant coaches set to be in South Africa when the T20 series takes place to prepare for the forthcoming Test series against the Proteas in March, Cricket Australia has roped in Ponting along with women’s head coach Matthew Mott and head of the national performance program Troy Cooley.
Ponting had recently revealed that he was in discussions for several months with Cricket Australia, as the reigning 50-over world champions are exploring ways to improve their record in the shortest form of the game. The record winners of the 50-over World Cup are yet to make a big mark in T20s except making it to the final of the 2010 World T20.
And while the recent appointment is a temporary one, Ponting stated he was open to the possibility of becoming a full-time coach if the cricket board decided to appoint a coach only for T20s.
“There’s a fair bit of talk about splitting the (head coach) roles up, and I’m just delighted my name is one that’s come up for that permanent role down the track,” Ponting was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia’s website.
“But we’ll wait and see how this goes first. I know I’d enjoy it if I had the opportunity to do it and if I could make it work in with the other commitments I have and with family time.”
“I seem to spend my whole life around Twenty20 cricket now with commentating on the Big Bash and coaching in the IPL. I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the game and we’ll see how it goes,” he added.
Ponting, who was recently appointed the head coach of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils, further said he would enjoy working with his former teammate Lehmann.
“We’re great mates,” he said. “We enjoyed batting together, and we enjoyed playing together, so I’ve no doubt at all we’ll enjoy working together as coach and assistant coach.
“I’ve got a bit of a coaching bug; I love being around the game and being around the best players, and I love being able to feel like you’ve got some impact on the way they play their cricket. It’s very much an assistant’s role, Darren is obviously the head coach, and hopefully, we can work well together,” added Ponting who had led Mumbai Indians to IPL title.
Lehmann also welcomed the appointment, saying the team has the chance to take advantage of Ponting’s knowledge.
“Ricky has a fantastic cricket brain, and when it comes to Twenty20 cricket there aren’t many better in the world given his experience around the world, as a player, a coach and a commentator,” Lehmann said in a statement.
“It’s an exciting prospect for us, as coaches, to have the chance to take advantage of Ricky’s Twenty20 knowledge and, for the players, the chance to work with one of Australia’s all-time greats will be just as exciting for them,” he added.
“The ICC World Twenty20 trophy is the only one that’s missing from the trophy cabinet at Cricket Australia, and it would be great for us to put that right during the next edition of the tournament on home soil in 2020,” he said.
Ponting previously worked as Australia’s assistant coach last year during the series against Sri Lanka. The World Cup-winning skipper had joined Jason Gillespie in working under stand-in head coach Justin Langer while Lehmann was on duty with Australia’s Test team.
Meanwhile, the T20 series will star on February 3 in Sydney with Australia taking on New Zealand and will conclude on February 21.
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