MELBOURNE: Former captain Ricky Ponting has been appointed as an assistant coach of Australia’s men’s team for the 50-over World Cup in England later this year, the country’s cricket board said on Friday.
The 44-year-old Ponting will work with Australia’s batsmen for the May 30-July 14 tournament, with current batting coach Graeme Hick focussing on preparing the side for the Ashes tour in England, starting in August.
Ponting’s appointment is the second major shakeup in Australia’s backroom staff in as many days, with bowling coach David Saker resigning “effective immediately” on Thursday. Saker has been replaced temporarily by Troy Cooley.
Australia won their fifth World Cup title on home soil four years ago and head coach Justin Langer said that Ponting’s experience in leading the team to two of those victories would be invaluable in England.
“Ricky knows what’s required to win World Cups, and 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,” Langer said.
“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.”
Ponting played 375 one-day internationals for Australia and led them to the World Cup titles in 2003 and 2007. He was also a member of Steve Waugh’s winning side in 1999 – the last time the tournament was held in England.
As well as assisting the batsmen, Ponting will help Langer fine-tune the team’s tactics and strategies, Cricket Australia’s interim general manager of high-performance Belinda Clark said.
Clark said appointing Ponting for the World Cup would enable Hick to concentrate solely on helping Australia defend the Ashes against England.
“With two major events back-to-back we believe it is important to focus a number of staff specifically on one event,” Clark said. “The appointment of Ricky is a part of this overall strategy.”
Ponting has had short-term engagements with the Australian men’s limited overs team in recent years and will begin his role after Australia’s one-day series against India and Pakistan.
“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,” Ponting said.
“I have enormous confidence in the players available to the selectors and know we will be as tough to beat as any team, in this year’s World Cup.”