Former national captain Ricky Ponting is poised to be the face of free-to-air cricket coverage in Australia, having signed a multi-year deal with new cricket broadcaster Channel Seven.
Ponting was a sought-after commentary commodity after impressing with Network Ten throughout the KFC Big Bash League with his expert analysis.
The 43-year-old, who is currently plying his coaching trade with Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League in the first of a two-year deal, was snapped up by Seven's new head of cricket, Dave Barham, who worked with Ponting in the same role at Ten.
"Seven has long been the leader of live sport coverage in Australia and their plans for cricket will give the viewer a greater insight into the game," Ponting said. "I couldn't be more excited to be joining the Seven Network and being part of an exciting new era of cricket broadcasting."
The signing is a significant one for Seven, particularly after Fox Sports recruited Ponting's former co-commentator at Ten, Adam Gilchrist, to be their face of the game. It was also revealed yesterday that former England captain Michael Vaughan would be joining Fox Sports on a multi-year deal.
Ponting's commentary is not expected to impact any of his coaching aspirations, with the former IPL-winning coach to resume his position with the Daredevils next year, while he is also likely to work closely with new head coach of the Australian men's team, Justin Langer, as a T20 assistant leading into the ICC World T20 tournament, to be held in Australia in 2020.
Ponting was assistant coach to Darren Lehmann with Australia's T20I team in February during a tri-series against England and New Zealand, and left a lasting impression on the playing group.
"He was great for me through those games," Queensland quick Billy Stanlake told cricket.com.au. "So he instilled great confidence in me.
"When he spoke, everyone was glued to what he had to say. We know what a great cricket brain he has."
In his new role at Seven, Ponting will cover Test cricket as well as the BBL, with 43 of the 59 matches in that tournament to be covered by the network.
Seven and Fox Sports last month won the broadcast rights on a six-year contract with Cricket Australia worth around $1.2bn.