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Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is in the running to take over as the national team’s head coach for their Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka in February.
Australia are expected to field a second-tier squad for the series as many of the high-profile players will be in India getting prepared for the Test series, which starts a day after the final Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka on February 22.
Ponting is the frontrunner at the moment as Western Australia coach Justin Langer is set to stay with his side in the Sheffield Shield. Langer replaced Lehmann as head coach on a temporary basis during the ODI tri-series against South Africa and the West Indies in June.
“Darren (Lehmann) will be away with that (Test) team, so they will need someone to coach the Australia T20 team here in Australia,” Ponting, who revealed that “there had been a few inquiries”, told Australian radio show Rush Hour. “I’m not saying that’s me … let’s wait and see over the next few months and there will be an announcement I’m sure.”
A Cricket Australia statement added: “We are speaking to a number of people about the prospect of coaching the T20 international side during the Sri Lanka Series due to Darren Lehmann and David Saker being in India. At this stage no decision has been made.”
Jason Gillespie will also be in the fray after his successful stint as Yorkshire’s head coach, during which he led them to back-to-back County Championship titles in 2014 and 2015. However, Gillespie has endorsed Ponting for the role.
“I think that would be a good thing for the Twenty20 side to have Ricky Ponting take the reins,” he told the Cricket Australia website. “I think it would be a great coup for Cricket Australia if they could convince Ricky Ponting to take the reins for that. If he’s not available, it would certainly be something I would look at.”