Australia’s top cricket body appointed Andrew McDonald as national coach on Wednesday, two months after Justin Langer’s shock departure. McDonald, 40, was handed a four-year deal at No. 1 after receiving praise for his performance as caretaker manager since Langer’s abrupt resignation on February 5 shook the cricketing world. He holds one of the most prominent positions in Australia, where cricket is a vital part of the country’s identity and where the team’s exploits take hold of much of the country. “I am honored to have this incredible opportunity for what is an exciting time ahead,” McDonald said after being confirmed in the position by Cricket Australia.
“My plan is to leverage the growth, depth and experience of the team while working collectively with the group and through play,” he said in a statement.
Langer left after failing to win public support from key players including captain Pat Cummins, despite guiding Australia to a 4-0 Ashes win over England and a maiden European Cup title. T20 world.
Langer has also been credited with reshaping a toxic Australian cricket culture that led to the ‘Sandpaper-gate’ ball tampering scandal in 2018.
Prior to Langer’s departure, disgruntled players complained anonymously to Australian media about his intense coaching style.
In contrast, limited overs captain Aaron Finch praised the “calm approach” of the versatile former Test McDonald in the caretaker job.
– “Fantastic job” –
“He never seems to be troubled by a situation or an outcome – it’s all about the process and making sure your preparation and attention to detail is 100 per cent,” Finch told reporters shortly after taking office. from McDonald’s.
Cricket Australia said McDonald would be the head coach in all formats, but some rounds of whiteballs could be coached by an assistant to ease the “significant workload ahead”.
“I think he will do a fantastic job,” former Australian Test captain Michael Clarke said on Tuesday on the eve of McDonald’s much-anticipated appointment.
He did, however, warn that Australia would be under pressure to play with McDonald, who had been Langer’s assistant since 2019.
“To me, it seems like that’s exactly what the players want, which puts extra pressure on them if they don’t perform,” Clarke said in an interview with Sky Sports Radio.
As captain, Cummins in particular would face “extreme pressure”, Clarke predicted.
“He got Justin Langer fired, pretty much…he came out and said that’s what the players wanted,” Clarke said.
Cummins denied that a player uprising was behind Langer’s resignation, saying he tried to show respect for “proper process” by not stepping in publicly to support or criticize him.
McDonald, who has red hair and was inevitably nicknamed Ronnie, played four Tests for Australia with his biggest shot a 68 against South Africa.
A right-arm medium-fast bowler and practical right-handed hitter, he also played for Victoria and South Australia before turning to coaching, starting as Leicestershire head coach in 2014.
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