Advertisement

Coach debate hits 'Dizzy' heights

Jason Gillespie backed while Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer remain front-runners for role

Justin Langer, Jason Gillespie and Ricky Ponting remain the three frontrunners for Australia's vacant head coach role amid continuing debate, with Cricket Australia's Board due to settle on an approach to filling the role.

CA yesterday moved quickly to quash a report that claimed Langer had already been appointed to the role, but the Western Australian is still a leading candidate.

"The process to be undertaken for the appointment of a new Australian men's head coach will be discussed and agreed at the CA board meeting this Friday," a CA spokesperson said in a statement.

"No appointment has been made, and nor will any candidate be put to the board for ratification on Friday. 

"We expect to have a clearer understanding of the approach and appointment timelines following this meeting."

Australia have a busy winter with a Qantas tour of the UK where they will play five ODIs and a single T20 against England, before heading to Zimbabwe for a T20 tri-series also featuring Pakistan. Tests and limited-overs matches are due to follow against Pakistan in September/October.

At the same time, CA will commission a wide-ranging independent review into cultural, organisational and governance issues in cricket following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

Part of that process will see a four-person panel chaired by ex-Test batsman Rick McCosker that will look to create a charter to set out standards for improved player behaviour and expectations of the Australian men's national side. The two processes will run in tandem, with no set deadline for recommendations to be made to the CA Board.

Former captain Ian Chappell has backed ex-Test bowler Jason Gillespie for the role ahead of Langer.

Chappell said Gillespie's integrity as a player, along with the former Test bowler's success at the helm of Yorkshire where he won two County Championship titles, should make him the preferred candidate.

From the Vault: Gillespie five levels England

"He's got a good understanding of cricket," Chappell told Macquarie Sports Radio.

"When you talked to him while he was playing he was very interested in the history of the game.

"So I thought he played the game with a lot of integrity. He was obviously a very good bowler.

"He's had a lot of success in that position in some different position. Yorkshire obviously, a hell of a lot of success there."

"I just find him a decent bloke. The sort of guy ... that doesn't get in the way but he's helpful in his own quiet way."

Gillespie is just begun a new coaching stint with county side Sussex, while he leads the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL. He's previously said he is open to discussions.

"People have my number – if anyone gives me a call I'm happy to have a chat. But my focus is on my two roles," he told the Guardian recently.

Former South Africa coach Gary Kirsten, who also guided India to the 2011 World Cup and is currently at the helm of the Hobart Hurricanes, suggested CA should look at splitting the Test and limited-overs coaching roles, and endorsed Langer and Ricky Ponting for those positions, respectively.

Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting are coaching in the IPL // BCCI
Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting are coaching in the IPL // BCCI

"I know 'JL' (Langer) well and he's a great coach," Kirsten told Omnisport. "He has all the right credentials, and they also have Ricky Ponting who has done a fantastic job with their T20 team.

"There is no shortage of quality coaches around the world, but both JL and Ricky understand the Australian way better than most."

"I think international coaching is moving to a space where it is going to become more format based … the idea of coaching an international team across all formats is becoming more unlikely for young coaches, because it's just not sustainable, especially with a young family.

"Countries are starting to split coaching roles and I think it will happen more and more. 

"Australia dabbled with it and we are even getting counties now signing up Twenty20 coaches."

Earlier this month Langer said the prospect of coaching the national side was, for him, "complicated". 

"If the opportunity came up, there would be a lot to consider," he told PerthNow. "The complication is that I love my job. I love my job here. I love being on the board of the West Coast Eagles (football team). I love being with my family all the time.

"(Coaching Australia) would mean (travelling) 11 months of the year.

Langer has led the Scorchers to three BBL titles // Getty
Langer has led the Scorchers to three BBL titles // Getty

"I love working at WACA, and working with the Scorchers. My family is all in Perth. I am a Perth boy and I love being home. So that's why it is complicated.

"I'm also involved with five or six charities here in WA. And walking away from all that is not that easy to do. I have a great life as we speak."

Langer stood in as head coach for Australia's ODI tour of the West Indies in 2016 when Lehmann took some time off, a strong indication the former Test opener was next in line for the top job.