Ricky Ponting. Photo: BBL
Australia have appointed Ricky Ponting as their assistant coach for the upcoming ICC World Cup, that starts May 30. The 44-year-old will be joining Justin Langer's coaching team and focus exclusively on ODI batting, with regular batting coach Graeme Hick overseeing the preparations for the Ashes that follows soon after the World Cup.
The news of Ponting's appointment comes close on the heels of David Saker's abrupt resignation as Australia's bowling coach.
Australia are set to hold a pre-tournament camp in Brisbane in early May before their first World Cup game against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1. Ponting, who's also the coach of Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League, will be joining the squad at the camp.
"I'm really excited to be joining the coaching group for this year's World Cup," Ponting said after his appointment on Friday (February 8). "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, in this year's World Cup," Ponting added.
Ponting has served as an assistant coach before with Australia's T20 side in 2018 and 2017. He has also worked with Langer during latter's first series as Australia's head coach on the tour of the UK last year.
Belinda Clark, the interim EGM High Performance, underlined the importance of Ponting's appointment for what's set to be a crammed season, when a draining World Cup will be tailgated by an Ashes series away from home, again in England.
"Ricky will assist Justin across a number of key areas including strategy and game-plan, but he will also work closely with and mentor the batting group as they prepare for the English conditions," Clarke said. "This appointment also provides an opportunity for Graeme Hick to focus on preparation for the Ashes. With two major events back to back we believe it is important to focus a number of staff specifically on one event. The appointment of Ricky is a part of this overall strategy."
Ponting comes with the experience of 375 ODIs as a player, and has featured in five World Cups, three of them as a captain. Langer was delighted to have Ponting's experience in the Australian dressing room, especially at a rough time for the rebuilding side.
"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."