Sri Lanka v Australia Tests - Men
Australia poised to name new assistant coaches
Andrew McDonald's staff taking shape with Andre Borovec, Clint McKay and Dan Vettori the new names expected to be involved for the tour of Sri Lanka next month
21 May 2022, 09:47 AM AEST
Australia are poised to confirm the rare appointment of a coach with no first-class cricket experience into a full-time role, with Victorian Andre Borovec in line to join the men's national team's staff.
Cricket Victoria chief executive Nick Cummins yesterday announced Borovec was leaving his assistant role with the state men's team to take a similar job with the Aussies under new coach, Andrew McDonald.
Four years ago Andre left the Cats to join Cricket Victoria, playing a major part in our "three peat" (Shield/OD Cup/BBL) in 2018/19.We wish him all the best in his new role with the Australian Men’s team as an Assistant coach https://t.co/YUCwe2Of2e— Nick Cummins (@CricketVicCEO) May 20, 2022
It is believed the appointment is imminent and there are plans for Borovec to be the lead coach of the Australia A side in Sri Lanka next month before he joins the Test squad.
Clint McKay, the former Australia fast bowler who played with McDonald at Victoria and under his coaching at Leicestershire, is understood to likely be going to Sri Lanka as bowling coach for the T20 and one-day international legs of the tour.
Michael Di Venuto remains the team's batting coach while Nine newspapers reported earlier this month that former New Zealand captain Dan Vettori could become a more permanent fixture around the team having had a stint with the limited-overs sides in Pakistan earlier this year.
Indian spin coach Sridharan Sreeram is expected to re-join the squad in Sri Lanka having been unable to travel to Pakistan.
The recent departure of Jeff Vaughan to become coach of Tasmania (having previously been an assistant under Justin Langer) as well as McDonald’s own promotion from a senior assistant role has necessitated new faces be brought in.
While McDonald has been appointed coach for all three formats, he has previously conceded he will not be able to coach on every single tour, meaning there could be a variety of tour-by-tour coaching appointments during his tenure.
Borovec, an ex-first-grade wicketkeeper with Geelong in Victorian Premier Cricket, has become a highly-rated mentor with Victoria, the Melbourne Renegades and, more recently, with Australia on limited-overs series during the past 12 months.
The 44-year-old former teacher had a formative influence on McDonald's own coaching style when he played for Geelong during the twilight of his career while Borovec was coach of the club. He also has a long association with white-ball captain Aaron Finch, having also played with him at Geelong.
His appointment is unusual given most coaches who progress to international level typically have playing experience at domestic level.
The likes of American fielding guru Mike Young (a former minor-league baseballer), Trent Woodhill (who has had stints on the Aussie men's team's staff and remains a trusted batting advisor to Steve Smith and David Warner) and Ben Sawyer (currently with the Australian women's team) are notable exceptions among Australian coaches.
But McDonald has previously stressed top-flight playing experience should not be a prerequisite to coaching at the highest level.
"I'm not saying you can't be a good coach with a strong playing background. There are some great coaches out there who have played a lot of Test matches, who have great cricket intellect," he told cricket.com.au last year while he was still an assistant coach with Australia.
"But over time we've been a bit narrow with some of the appointments we've made.
"The knowledge that you gain from playing definitely gives you a head start against the rest of the pack, but to me we're starting to move past that."