McDonald appointed head coach on four-year deal

An assistant since 2019 and most recently interim head coach, the full-time appointment represents an incredible rise through the coaching ranks

Andrew McDonald has been appointed head coach of Australia's men's team after a successful period as caretaker that saw him spearhead a historic Test series victory in Pakistan.

Cricket Australia has appointed McDonald, who has served as an assistant since 2019, on a four-year deal that will see him oversee the Test, ODI and T20 sides.

The 40-year-old takes charge ahead of a significant 12 months for the men's team, which will include Test tours of Sri Lanka and India plus a T20 World Cup on home soil.

After former head coach Justin Langer's departure on February 5, McDonald was elevated to the position of interim coach while CA searched for a suitable full-time candidate.

But following a triumphant 1-0 series victory in Australia's first tour of Pakistan since 1998 and a strong endorsement from Test captain Pat Cummins, McDonald moved into the box seat to assume the role full time.

"He's a great operator. The boys absolutely love him," Cummins said post-series.

"(He’s) very diligent, very thorough, strategic, very organised. He's a huge part of this tour win."

White-ball captain Aaron Finch, who has longstanding links with McDonald from his playing days, has been similarly positive about the prospect of the former Test allrounder taking over in a full-time capacity.

The appointment is the culmination of an incredible rise through the coaching ranks for McDonald, who began his coaching badges during his playing days.

At the age of just 33 and while still playing professional cricket, McDonald was appointed head coach of Leicestershire at a time when the Midlands club had not won a game in the County Championship for two years.

But the young coach was credited with creating a cultural reset at the club, as they eventually snapped what became a 992-day drought without victory.

Image Id: C49CE37431B44D54848BA69A5AF799E3 Image Caption: McDonald at Leicestershire in April 2015 // Getty

In August 2016, McDonald departed the UK to return home and take over as head coach of both Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades, where success soon followed.

He led Victoria to two Sheffield Shield titles in three seasons in charge, plus a domestic one-day cup, before spearheading the Renegades to BBL|08 glory, the club's first and only title to date.

In October 2019, McDonald was appointed Langer's right-hand man and later that summer led Australia's ODI team away from home against India while Langer was on leave.

That year he also signed a three-year deal with IPL side Rajasthan Royals, but spent just one season with the franchise after an unsuccessful 2020 campaign.

McDonald said the opportunity to lead was “incredible” and looked forward to the immediate challenges inside the next 12 months.

“The journey so far has been particularly pleasing, and I am honoured to be given this incredible opportunity for what is an exciting period ahead,” he said.

“The success of the World Cup, the Ashes Series and now Pakistan has been testament to the hard work and leadership of Justin, Pat and Aaron along with the players and the support staff."

With the appointment, CA has opted not to split the head-coaching position along white- and red-ball lines as has been suggested by several figures, including former coach Darren Lehmann.

When the Australia and England roles both became vacant after the recent Ashes series (following the departure of Langer and Chris Silverwood respectively), McDonald suggested that a "greater conversation" was required about what is expected of international coaches amid an increasingly busy schedule.

"The FTP (ICC's Future Tours Program) over the next 12, 18, 24 months is not getting any lighter, there's a conversation to be had there," he said in February.

"It's not just as simple as saying, 'There's a job there, would you like to do it, yes or no?'. I think it's a great opportunity for a greater cricket conversation that two of the bigger cricket nations are embarking upon. I'm fascinated to see where that lands."

CA chief executive Nick Hockley has previously indicated an "over-arching head coach" was desired by the governing body, an outcome they have arrived at with Wednesday's announcement.

Executive General Manager of High Performance and National Teams Ben Oliver indicated McDonald would be given the opportunity for a break during certain short-format series.

“Andrew has been appointed as head coach in all formats, although some white ball series may be led by an assistant given the significant workload ahead and the opportunity to continue to develop our coaches and players.”