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Ricky Ponting joins Australian coaching staff for Sri Lanka T20s

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Ricky Ponting Australia Cricket
Ponting will work alongside former teammates Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie

What’s the story?

Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has been named as an assistant coach for Australia for the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka in February and will work alongside former teammates Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie who has been named as interim head coach and interim assistant coach respectively for the series which will clash with Australia’s preparation for the four-match Test series against India.

"I always said when I retired that I wanted to get back involved and what better way to do it than alongside a couple of my best mates in cricket, Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie," Ponting said. "We have some incredible Twenty20 talent in this country and I can't wait to work with JL, Dizzy and those selected to have a real crack at doing special for Australia's Twenty20 international ambitions."

In case you didn’t know...

Australia are scheduled to play three T20Is against Sri Lanka in Melbourne on February 17, the Victorian provincial city of Geelong on February 20 and Adelaide on February 22 while the four-Test series against India will begin at Pune on February 23. The tightly-packed schedule which has come in for criticism from various quarters, not least of all the current Australian skipper Steven Smith, means much of Australia’s premier stars will be busy in their preparations for the gruelling series against India in their own backyard.

Cricket Australia themselves have taken an unprecedented step by the appointment of Langer and Gillespie, while head coach Darren Lehmann marshals his troops in India and now, Ponting has been added to the coaching staff for the Sri Lanka tour.

The heart of the matter

Ponting, who coached Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League title in 2015, had stepped down from his role to be replaced by former Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene. The former Australian skipper has expressed his delight at getting the opportunity to work alongside former team-mates Langer and Gillespie to nurture the talented bunch of T20 cricketers in Australia.

What next?

While Ponting’s decision to step down from his role with the Mumbai Indians franchise was being seen in direct link with the decision of Rodney Marsh to step down as the chief selector following Australia’s disappointing form of late, especially in the Test format. While Cricket Australia have appointed Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell on an interim basis to handle the selection duties, it will be interesting to see how they go about the decision in the long run especially once the Sri Lanka T20 series gets over.

Sportskeeda’s take

Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma’s words about Ponting after the latter had taken over the coaching duties of the IPL franchise is enough to prove that the Australian players will love working under him. Whether Ponting really eyes a role as chief selector of Australia is uncertain, but it is certain that he will relish the chance to work with Australian T20 players no matter what.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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