McDonald set for Bushrangers role

The former allrounder has been announced as the new Victoria coach after Leicestershire confirmed he'll depart at season's end

Former Australia Test player Andrew McDonald has been confirmed as the Victorian Bushrangers' new head coach.

The appointment was leaked before the Bushranger's announcement after English county side Leicestershire, where McDonald is currently coaching, confirmed he would leave his post at the club next month.

Having already been announced as coach of the Melbourne Renegades, replacing new Australia assistant coach David Saker, McDonald will return to coach the state he represented for over a decade.

The 35-year-old will come back to Melbourne at the conclusion of the England domestic season, where he is set to complete his second season as coach of county outfit Leicestershire.

McDonald said the lure of a return home to Victoria proved too strong for him and his young family to turn down.

"The state team is in a really good place on the back of consecutive Shield victories and I’m looking forward to building on that culture of success and delivering results across all formats,” McDonald said in a Cricket Victoria statement.

"I'm a proud Victorian and have been lucky enough to share some big wins playing cricket for this state. I’m excited about the challenges that are ahead of us and I look forward to working with the coaching staff and the players led by Matthew Wade on the busy schedule ahead."

McDonald had taken Leicestershire, perennial battlers in county cricket, to the brink of promotion from Division Two of the County Championship in his short time at Grace Road.

"It has been an extremely difficult decision to leave Leicestershire County Cricket Club but I have to put my family first and we are now going to settle back home in Australia," he said in a Leicestershire CCC statement.

"I'd like to thank the club for this fantastic opportunity, I'll always be grateful for having the chance to both play and coach at the Fischer County Ground, and will continue to follow the club's fortunes from afar.

"I also appreciate the fact that Leicestershire have allowed me the opportunity to return home and wish the club every success for the future."

The former allrounder, who won four Test caps with Australia in 2008-09, is highly regarded within Victorian cricket and enjoyed a distinguished career with the Bushrangers, in which he notched 3516 runs at an average of 40 while taking 163 wickets in the Sheffield Shield.

McDonald played four Tests for Australia in 2012 // Getty
McDonald played four Tests for Australia // Getty

McDonald was also part of the Sydney Thunder's inaugural title-winning squad in last season's KFC Big Bash League.

Injuries hindered him towards the end of his playing career and he was appointed coach of Leicestershire in 2014.

Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide said McDonald was the outstanding candidate after a thorough selection process.

"We’re delighted that Andrew has agreed to return to Victoria after his time in charge with Leicestershire. He brings a great enthusiasm and knowledge to the role and knows Victorian cricket well which stands us in good stead ahead of the upcoming Sheffield Shield season and Matador BBQs One Day Cup," Dodemaide said in a statement.

"The Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers have enjoyed terrific success in the last two years with our consecutive Shield victories. Andrew - a former Shield winner himself - understands elite performance environments and is looking to build on that success this season."

McDonald inherited a Leicestershire side that hadn't won a four-day County Championship match in two seasons and was in deep financial trouble.

But along with Australian recruits Clint McKay and captain Mark Cosgrove, McDonald helped the side record their first four-day win in 992 days against Essex in his first season at the helm.

Now the Foxes are within touching distance of promotion and sat second on the Division Two table going into their ongoing match against table-toppers, Essex.

Leicestershire chief executive Wasim Khan admits he's disappointed to lose McDonald and paid tribute to him.

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"This decision has not been easy for Andrew and we are naturally disappointed to lose a person and coach of his caliber," Khan said. "We fully understand and respect the reasons for his decision.

"Andrew has done a fantastic job here in his two years as Elite Performance Director, with the team making great strides forward.

"Performances and results have drastically improved and Andrew has left a strong platform to build on. We will now look to build on his excellent work.

"Andrew is an outstanding leader and I have no doubt that Cricket Victoria and Melbourne Renegades will see huge progress with Andrew at the helm.

"Everyone at Leicestershire County Cricket Club would like to wish Andrew and his family well for the future."

Former South African allrounder Pierre de Bruyn will take over from McDonald as coach of Leicestershire.

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