SYDNEY – Former national skipper Ricky Ponting was Friday recruited to work alongside coach Justin Langer, focusing mainly on the batsmen, for the looming World Cup in England where Australia will defend their title.
The appointment of the vastly experienced Ponting, who played at five World Cups and won at three, comes a day after bowling coach David Saker quit.
Cricket Australia said his addition as assistant coach would see him focus on working with the ODI batting group, while current batting coach Graeme Hick concentrates on preparing for the Ashes.
Ponting is a close ally of Langer, who said he was thrilled to have his friend and former colleague back in the fold.
“I know he will be a valuable mentor to not just the batting group, but the broader squad as we focus our attention on defending our World Cup title,” said Langer.
“Ricky and I have worked together with the Australian men’s team in the past, he is an extremely driven coach who is fully invested in the players development and improving Australian cricket.
“He has an impressive understanding of the game, he knows what’s required to prepare and perform at the elite level, and we can’t wait for him to get started working with the squad,” he added.
Ponting played 375 one-dayers and 168 Tests, also working as an assistant with Australia’s Twenty20 side in 2017 and 2018.
He accompanied Langer during the West Australian’s first tour – to England – after taking over as head coach from Darren Lehmann in April last year following the ball-tampering scandal.
Ponting will start after Australia’s upcoming one-day tours against India and Pakistan.
“I’m really excited to be joining the coaching group,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed my previous short-term roles with the ODI and T20 teams but World Cups take on a whole different meaning for me.
“I have enormous confidence in the players available to the selectors and know we will be as tough to beat as any team.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)