Andrew McDonald is no longer the coach of the Rajasthan Royals after he parted ways with the Indian Premier League franchise on Saturday, less than two months out from the expected start of the tournament.
McDonald was at the helm of the Royals for last year’s campaign when they finished last in what has turned to be his only year with the inaugural champions.
The timing of the split is unusual given the 13th edition of the lucrative T20 league is expected to get underway in early April.
"Everyone at Rajasthan Royals would like to thank Andrew for his efforts towards the IPL season 13," said Jake Lush McCrum, Royals chief operation officer.
"He coached the team during and incredibly challenging COVID restricted period and we would like to wish him all the very best for his future endeavours with the Australian Men's Cricket Team and the Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred."
Kumar Sangakkara, Rajasthan's director of cricket, will instead coach the franchise this season, with Trevor Penney the lead assistant coach.
McDonald is expected to now focus his time as assistant coach to Justin Langer with Australia's men's team, as well as on his role as head coach of Birmingham in The Hundred, England's new competition that has been pushed back to 2021 due to the pandemic.
The former Test allrounder is acting head coach of Australia's T20 team in New Zealand in the absence of Langer, who was meant to be with the Test team before the tour of South Africa was postponed.
While McDonald has higher coaching aspirations, he says he's is "really enjoying" his role in the Australian team at the moment.
"It's a really exciting time to be around the Australian team in terms of what's coming up," McDonald said last week.
"We've got a couple of T20 World Cups in the next couple of years, a home Ashes series and then clearly India away.
"There's some great series to be a part of and I'm really enjoying my role at the moment. Can't see that changing anytime soon."
While McDonald won't be coaching in India, there is an opportunity at the Melbourne Renegades after the top job was vacated by Michael Klinger, who left the position to take up a role with Cricket NSW in the wake of BBL|10.
McDonald coached the Renegades to their maiden title in BBL|08, defeating cross-town rivals the Melbourne Stars in a dramatic final at Marvel Stadium.
But the 39-year-old said "not at this stage" when asked about the possibility of returning the Renegades.
"As I said, I'm really looking forward to the content that's coming up around the international team, enjoying my role working with some quality players," he said.
"I get a small opportunity here to lead in the absence of JL in these unique circumstances when there was meant to be two teams playing.
"I would say that I am very comfortable and happy in this role at the moment."
Australia's T20 players have praised McDonald's leadership in New Zealand while the squad was in quarantine ahead of tonight's opening clash in Christchurch.
Captain Aaron Finch, fast bowler Kane Richardson and leg-spinner Adam Zampa have noted how McDonald has created a relaxed environment in the national set up.
"He's just a really calm head, he's a very good communicator," Zampa said. "He brings a lot of good energy to the group.
"He has a good rapport with the players as well, we feel really relaxed around Ronnie (McDonald).
"He's kind of at that age where he's just out of the game as well – not too long ago I spent a couple of years with him at South Australia, so me and Ronnie get along really well.
"He's a really good operator."
Qantas T20I tour of New Zealand 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Tanveer Sangha, D'Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Hamish Bennett, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, *Martin Guptill (pending fitness test), Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee. *Finn Allen (on stand-by for Guptill)
All matches will be shown live in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo