Ponting named Australia T20 assistant again

GETTY IMAGES 
 
   Ricky Ponting mixes TV commentary with coaching these days and is now in the Australian national team's mix

There is talk of splitting up the Australian coaching roles across the formats to ease the pressure and Ponting is being suggested as the man to lead the T20 team.

The former Aussie skipper has been confirmed as one of the assistant coaches for February's Twenty20 Tri-Series involving New Zealand, Australia and England to be played on either side of the Tasman.

Australia will face New Zealand on February 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the first game of the series and the final will be played on February 21 in Auckland.

The former Test skipper, having worked previous year with the T20 squad, will return to bolster Darren Lehmann's support staff, along with Australian women's coach Matthew Mott and Troy Cooley, the head coach of the national performance program.

Troy Cooley and Matthew Mott have also joined the staff as regulars Graeme Hick, David Saker and Brad Haddin travel to South Africa for preparations ahead of a Test series.

His professional playing career concluded at the Antigua Hawksbills in the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in 2013 and he then went on to coach the Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League (IPL) title.

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Ponting's analysis during television commentary for the Big Bash League has been lauded. "I know I'd enjoy it if I had the opportunity to do it and if I could make it work in with the other commitments I have and with family time", he added. "I think I've got a pretty good grasp on the game and we'll see how it goes". While the appointment is temporary, Ponting, 43, said he was open to taking up the role full time.

Darren Lehmann said he was looking forward to having Ponting on board. "We're great mates", he said.

Now ranked seventh in ICC's T20I rankings, Australia haven't had a great time in the shortest format of the game, and the World T20I trophy is the only one they are yet to win. The next tournament is two-and-a-half-years away but Lehmann maintained the planning needs to begin early.

Lehmann said this series would be an important step towards the World T20 in 2020.

"It's an exciting prospect for us, as coaches, to have the chance to take advantage of Ricky's T20 knowledge and, for the players, the chance to work with one of Australia's all-time greats will be just as exciting for them".

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