Australia appoint Ponting as T20 assistant


Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed that Ricky Ponting will act as assistant coach during Australia’s T20I series against England and New Zealand next month.

Ponting, who played 168 Tests, 375 ODIs and 17 T20Is for the Aussies, will work under national coach Darren Lehmann, while Troy Cooley and Matthew Mott will also join the coaching staff pof the team for the series.

The now 43-year-old Ponting, Cooley and Mott will work with Lehmann as regular support staff Graeme Hick, David Saker and Brad Haddin will travel to South Africa to assist in preparations for the four-match Test tour that starts in Durban on 1 March.

For Ponting, it will be a case of reprising the role he undertook last year when he worked with the T20I squad for the three-match series against Sri Lanka.

Mott is the current coach of the Australia women’s team which retained the Women’s Ashes this summer while Cooley is head coach of the National Performance Program.

Ponting has extensive experience of the shortest form of the game, captaining his country in the first ever T20I, against New Zealand in 2005, and then leading the side in the first two editions of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 and 2009.

Commenting on his appointment, Ponting said: “I’m delighted to be involved with the Australian squad again for what should be a terrific series against England and New Zealand.

“I loved working with the squad last year against Sri Lanka and I can’t wait to be working alongside Darren, Troy and Matthew this time around.

“Watching the KFC Big Bash League in my role as a commentator has shown me we have a wealth of talent available to us in this format and a tri-series like this will give us a great chance to establish a pattern of play that works best for the players.”

Welcoming Ponting’s appointment, Lehmann said: “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.

“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.

“To do that the planning and preparation has to start now and 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 T20I series will involve matches against New Zealand and England, plus the possibility of a final in Auckland on 21 February.