Former national captain Ricky Ponting will take up the role of assistant coach of Australia during the T20 tri-series also involving England and New Zealand. He will work under head coach Darren Lehmann.
Last week, he was named head coach of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils. He had also coached Mumbai Indians to their second IPL title in 2015.
Speaking of his appointment, Ponting said: “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.
“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.”
With talk around of splitting the Australia coaching roles across formats, and with Ponting’s name in the mix, this could be a kind of audition. Ponting said on the matter: “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.
“But we’ll wait and see how this goes first. I know I’d enjoy it if I had the opportunity to do it, if I could make it work with the other commitments I have and with family time.”
Lehmann said this series would be an important step towards the World T20 in 2020. “The ICC World T20 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. “To do that, the planning and preparation has to start now. So the chance to have this run of matches against two top sides in conditions we’re set to face in two years, and for us to have Ricky as one of our backroom staff, is great news.”
The tri-series starts on February 7 in Australia before moving to New Zealand. The last group game is scheduled for February 18, with the final in Auckland on February 21.