Australian cricket great Ricky Ponting has been named as Darren Lehmann’s assistant coach for next month’s T20 series against England and New Zealand.
Ponting, fresh off being named head coach for IPL franchise Dehli Daredevils, will join women’s head coach Matthew Mott and head of the national performance program Troy Cooley in working alongside Lehmann, with his regular assistants in preparation for Australia’s tour of South Africa in March.
Just last week, Ponting acknowledged his desire to coach the national team in the future after rumours circled following comments on the Big Bash coverage.
“I’ve had discussions with Cricket Australia for a long time about getting involved somewhere in some way shape or form,” he said.
“I love coaching, I love being able to give a little bit back into the game.
“Obviously working and commentating on the Big Bash gives me an opportunity to see all the players and keep up with the tactics and the skills that are coming into the game now.”
Following todays announcement, Ponting was glad to have this initial opportunity.
“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 said.
“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,” Ponting said.
“I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the game and we’ll see how it goes.”
Ponting said working alongside Lehmann was also one of the reasons he decided to pursue this opportunity.
“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.”
Lehmann was equally as excited to work with his former teammate as Australia already has an eye on the 2020 T20 World Cup.
“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.
“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.”