ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020
Mott locked in ahead of World Cup campaign
Australia head coach Matthew Mott will remain at the helm of the world's top-ranked team until at least the end of the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand
15 January 2020, 03:48 PM AEST
As Matthew Mott prepares for what is arguably his greatest challenge to date, the Australian women’s team head coach has been given a ringing endorsement, with his contract extended until the next 50-over World Cup.
Next month, Mott and his Australian team will begin their T20 World Cup campaign against India under lights at Sydney’s Showgrounds Stadium on February 21.
Australia will head into the tournament as hosts, defending champions and red-hot favourites, in what looms as the culmination of what has been the busiest and most demanding period of international cricket in the team’s history.
They are ranked No.1 in both limited-overs formats (no Test rankings exist for women’s cricket) and have dropped just three matches since the start of 2018.
It means there will be pressure aplenty on Mott, and his team, but the fact they are in this position is in no small part thanks to his influence since taking over the head coaching role from Cathryn Fitzpatrick in March 2015.
Already his tenure has seen Australia regain the Ashes from England, on English soil, in 2015, before retaining them in emphatic fashion last year.
And while the lows of their 2016 T20 World Cup final defeat to the West Indies, and their 2017 50-over World Cup semi-final exit, prompted changes and a review of the team’s culture, their results since have been staggering.
They are on an unprecedented ODI winning streak of 18 matches, while their strong T20 form across the last two years has seen them drop just three matches while taking out the 2018 T20 World Cup title in the Caribbean.
Given these results it’s hardly surprising Cricket Australia has rewarded Mott by extending his tenure, announcing on Wednesday the former Queensland and Victoria player will remain at the helm of the national side until at least the end of the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand, to be played early next year.
"Coaching this group has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue in the role," Mott said. "This is a special time to be involved in women’s cricket in Australia with a successful stand-alone WBBL flowing into a home Twenty20 World Cup.
"I am excited to see how far this group can go and inspire the next generation of Australian cricketers."
It's likely Mott and many of his Australian players will go into that tournament in New Zealand with unfinished business, after their shock semi-final defeat at the 2017 event in England.
Speaking on Mel Jones’ Road to the T20 World Cup podcast on SEN earlier this month, Mott was typically frank when asked to pinpoint where he believes his greatest strength as a coach lies.
"I think I’ve got a lot of empathy, being a bit of a battler as a player myself," Mott said.
"I can see when people are struggling and I can try and get down to their level and talk to them about some strategies to be better.
"I just like people, I just genuinely like helping people and like seeing people get better.
"On reflection, it probably helped me get into a few teams that maybe statistically I didn’t deserve to be in at the time.
"And that’s what we’ve tried to do as (an Australian) team. We’ve got some fantastic support staff who have come in over the last couple, and even the ones before who just built a really strong foundation.
"The players often remark how they just love being back around our group … to be in elite sport, if people enjoy hanging around each other, that’s’ the gold standard."
Blessed with a golden generation of players including Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning, who are reaping the rewards of full-time professionalism, Mott admits helming the world’s best team makes his job particularly enjoyable.
"In the latest couple of years, with where our team has got to, it’s an absolute pleasure to turn up and work with people who are so passionate and driven to be the best they can be," he said.
"It never feels like work."
That enjoyment is paramount, given the challenges life on the road brings for Mott as a father of two young children with wife Taryn.
"It’s hard being away from family, that’s probably the hardest thing about the job especially with young kids," Mott told Road to the T20 World Cup.
"It used to be around 110 days (away on tour or training camps) a year … last year it was 210 days, so that’s quite a significant jump.
"That’s the hardest part of the job, but we love doing it."
The Australian squad will come together in Sydney later this month ahead of the CommBank T20 tri-series against England and India, which will serve as preparation for the T20 World Cup.
2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup
February 15: Australia v West Indies, Allan Border Field
February 18: Australia v South Africa, Karen Rolton Oval
February 21: Australia v India, Sydney Showgrounds
February 24: Australia v Sri Lanka, WACA Ground
February 27: Australia v Bangladesh, Manuka Oval
March 8: Final, MCG
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE
* All matches will be broadcast on Fox Cricket and Kayo, while Australia’s matches will also be broadcast on the Nine Network