Former Australia Test captain Ricky Ponting says he is relishing the opportunity to work alongside two of his old teammates during the KFC T20 INTL series against Sri Lanka, but has reaffirmed he has no desire to move into a full-time coaching gig in the foreseeable future.
Ponting has joined the Australian T20 side as an assistant coach for the three-game series, forming an all-star cast alongside fellow assistant Jason Gillespie and stand-in head coach Justin Langer, the trio filling in for Darren Lehmann and the rest of the Bupa Support Team coaching staff who are with the Test squad in India.
The 168-Test veteran joined the T20 squad for their first training session in Melbourne on Wednesday and admitted pulling on the Australian colours again was a thrill.
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“It’s all different stuff now, different colours, different sponsors, but it was a great feeling,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“Not just now, but from the minute I got the phone call from Justin wanting me to be involved for these three games I was very excited.
“I work covering the Big Bash so I get a good look at the players and have a good understanding of how they play.
“To be able to be with them over the next week or two and help them out, hopefully win some games for Australia, it should be a very enjoyable time.”
While Ponting is eager to bring out the best in an Australia squad that includes uncapped youngesters Jhye Richardson and Ashton Turner alongside veteran Michael Klinger, he’s perhaps most excited to see how the coaching trio of Langer-Gillespie-Ponting gels together.
“We should be able to bring our own sort of dynamic to the team," the 42-year-old explained.
“The team will have its own little dynamic, but the three of us played together for so many years and we know each other very well.
“We’re all slightly different as well, which probably helps as a coaching group.
"Justin’s already spoken about how excited he is to have me around and I feel exactly the same way about being around Dizzy and JL.”
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And while Ponting freely admits he’s been bitten by the coaching bug since mentoring the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League – a role he held for two seasons – he is adamant he will not be seeking out another full-time job anytime soon.
“Coaching in the IPL was really challening and a lot of fun … to get a real taste for what coaching is all about was great," he said.
“As a past player who’s been ultra competitive all through your playing time and then when your career ends, that all goes away.
“Coaching is a way to add a bit more of that competitiveness back into life.
“That’s one thing I’ve said to the boys over the last couple of days, I’m a pretty competitive person and if I see things around the group that aren’t the way I want them, I’ll let them know and make sure they up the ante and get everything out of themselves.”
Not even his beloved former state side Tasmania, who parted ways with coach Dan Marsh on Thursday, will convince Ponting to change his mind just yet, although he has signed on to conduct a full review of the Hobart Hurricanes as they also seek a new coach following a disappointing KFC Big Bash League campaign.
“I’ve got Big Bash commitments and a young family," he said.
“As soon as you’re in a full time coaching role that’s 10 or 11 months of the year gone and I’m not quite ready for that.
“I probably will be down the track, but for now I’m settling back into family life and a bit of normailty which has been really nice.”