New England cricket chief Robert Key is said to have Australian legend Ricky Ponting on his shortlist of coaches to succeed sacked Chris Silverwood, but it has been derided as a ‘desperate move from a desperate nation’ by a writer from seasoned Aussie cricket.
The Times newspaper reported that Ponting and South African Gary Kirsten were the two main targets as a test coach for Key, who was named ECB CEO over the weekend, replacing Ashley Giles.
With Giles, Silverwood and Captain Joe Root all removed from power following the Ashes debacle in England last summer, Key is the first man in place and tasked with selecting the other two stalwarts.
With Ben Stokes the popular choice as captain, the biggest job seems to be finding a suitable replacement as manager.
Justin Langer has been discussed, according to reports in the UK, but many believe the issues that saw him leave the Australian post by player power will be repeated with England.
The Times reported that Key has been known to favor separate head coaches for Test and Limited teams.
“Ricky Ponting, the former Australian captain, and Gary Kirsten, who works for the ECB as head coach of Welsh Fire in the Hundred, will be high on Key’s list of targets for the Test coach. , and Mahela Jayawardena, the former captain of Sri Lanka, is likely to be approached to coach the white ball team,” the newspaper reports.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain has named his shortlist of four men – Ponting, Langer, Kirsten and former Women’s World Cup-winning manager Mark Robinson.
“We can all be lyrical about who we want as captain and coach, but it depends on who is available,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
“Some of the foreign coaches have lucrative IPL gigs, would they be willing to give it up? The England white ball team has Eoin Morgan in charge, and you could even argue in three or six months, Jos Buttler could take over as captain and Morgan could become coach of the white ball team. I see no problem with that, Morgan is a fantastic leader of men.
“But the test match team is underperforming, they need a kick in the back and a culture change. The ingredients are there: we’re not the best team in the world, but we can’t be the worst team in the world and that’s exactly where we sit.
“These candidates could be Gary Kirsten, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, Mark Robinson. That’s something Andrew Strauss did well early on, he made those big decisions well.
“He stayed with Morgan, he brought in Trevor Bayliss, he figured it all out. The next three or four decisions Key makes will be vital to the future of our cricket.
Ponting has long been tipped as a potential national team coach but seems content to jump into the IPL and grow as a commentator.
Even if he were to consider a full-time role with a national team, it would be a significant shock for him to do so with the old enemy, as veteran News Corp writer Robert Craddock bluntly pointed out.
“England’s reported attempt to try and sign Ricky Ponting as national coach is a desperate move by a desperate nation,” he wrote.
“You can’t blame England for trying – even Justin Langer once said Ponting was the best coach in the world – but if Ponting is going to coach anyone domestically, surely it has to be Australia.
“And even that would be in small appearances as a consultant, because he’s paid too much elsewhere to linger long.
“England have rarely been so low and never so disheveled. We say this without any sense of joy because when England are strong the game generally rises with them.
“But history will eventually remember that Australia’s ax to England this summer left even deeper wounds than when ‘Cyclone Mitchell’ Johnson ripped through them nine years ago.”
Key is a declared admirer of Ponting, but also aware of barrier gestures.
“You talk about international experience, the class he has; the ideal person is someone who wouldn’t want to do the job for the love or the money, someone like Ricky Ponting,” Key said recently while commentating with Sky.
For now, Kirsten feels a much more approachable foreign coach.
He previously applied for the job in 2015 and 2019 before losing to Trevor Bayliss and Silverwood, but hasn’t had an international coaching role since 2013 – after guiding India to triumph at the 2011 World Cup and took South Africa to the top of the Test standings. one year later.
But he seems willing, at least, to take on the role of Test, as long as the job has shared responsibilities.
“Your test team has been struggling for a while, but it would be a very nice project to get it started,” he told a UK publication in December.
“There is a lot to put in place to build this test team. Perhaps now is the time for England to say Test cricket is their priority.