Ricky Ponting has been replaced by Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardena as coach of Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians, leaving the much sought-after Australian batting mentor free to consider his potential options.
Ponting, Australia’s all-time leading runs-scorer in Tests and ODIs and a three-time World Cup winner, spent two seasons in charge at Mumbai, steering them to the IPL title in 2015.
Despite his success, the 41-year-old has previously said a long-term career in coaching was not on his immediate radar, given his young family.
However, with Australia’s T20 side in need of a stand-in coach next February due to the Test squad being in India, Ponting’s name had been floated, and with his two-year contract complete at Mumbai, he could come into the equation.
Ponting would be a front-runner for the role, but was coy when quizzed on his chances of helming the national side last month.
“Yeah there has been a few inquiries," he told Triple M's Rush Hour.
"Darren (Lehmann) will be away with that (Test) team, so they will need someone to coach the Australia T20 team here in Australia.
"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."
The Tasmanian, who also works for Network TEN as a commentator in the KFC Big Bash season, has also been spoken of as a potential chairman of selectors for Australian cricket this week in the wake of Rod Marsh’s resignation from the post, though is yet to comment on the matter.
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Mumbai lost their first four matches of the IPL in 2015 before Ponting led a revival which resulted in victories from 10 of their next 12 games and a win over Chennai in the final.
Former Sri Lanka captain Jayawardena takes the reins at the franchise.
"Jayawardena is an astute figure in the modern era of cricket. He is a perfect role model for the young Mumbai Indians squad," Mumbai owner Nita Ambani said a statement.
Jayawardena, who retired from international cricket last year, was a member of the Sri Lankan team that won the World Twenty20 tournament in 2014.
"I am very excited by the appointment and glad that the Mumbai Indians management appreciated my presentation and ideas," he said.
Mumbai finished fifth in the IPL this year, which was won by Sunrises Hyderabad.
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