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Ponting's 'obvious' choice as Tassie coach

Tasmanian legend reacts to the sacking of coach Dan Marsh as upheaval continues in the Apple Isle

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has named his ex-Tasmania teammate  and former Australia assistant coach Michael Di Venuto as the “obvious” replacement for sacked Tigers coach Dan Marsh.

Quick Single: Marsh sacked as Tasmania coach

Cricket Tasmania announced on Thursday they’d decided to part ways with Marsh with more than season to go on his contract following a disappointing summer, which has seen them win just one of their first seven Sheffield Shield matches.

The Hobart Hurricanes are also on the hunt for a new coach after Damien Wright’s contract was not renewed following the recent KFC Big Bash League season, with Ponting, along with former Australia and Tasmania batsman David Boon, assisting in a full review of the club.

Ponting has ruled himself out for both jobs but believes Di Venuto, who left his post as Australia’s batting mentor last year to take on the head coaching role at English county outfit Surrey, would be a perfect fit for the Tigers.

“There’s an obvious one coaching in England at the moment,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “Michael Di Venuto would be a good replacement.

Michael Di Venuto during his time as Australia's batting coach // Getty
Michael Di Venuto during his time as Australia's batting coach // Getty

“I’m not trying to endorse him only, I’m sure there’s a certain process that’ll be seen to by the board to come up with the next Tasmania Tigers coach.

“But he’s a home grown boy with a good record coaching with Australia and he’s done a good job at Surrey. 

“He’s just one that comes to mind."

Quick Single: Ponting's taps into IPL knowledge

Richard Allanby will stand in as Tasmania’s head coach for the remainder of this season, while Wright will continue as an assistant.

Cricket Tasmania on Friday signalled they’d undertake an independent review of its operations, with external auditors to be brought in to assess the scope of changes required.

Both Ponting and Boon are expected to be involved in finding a new coach for the Tigers.

Despite the upheaval, which includes the April arrival of new chief executive Nick Cummins, formerly Sydney Thunder general manager, CT chairman Andrew Gaggin denied the organisation is at an all-time low.

"We've been in bigger strife than this before ... I don't see it as rock bottom," he told reporters.

Ponting primed for coaching opportunity

"What we need to do is determine what we can do to improve.

Quick Single: Coaching stint a one off, says Ponting

"I expect that there will be an independent review into our structures and that will (cover) our entire cricket operations.

"We will be looking toward recommendations as to whether our structures below the head coach can be improved into the future."

Since Marsh took over from three-time Shield title-winning coach Tim Coyle in 2013, Tasmania have finished in the bottom two of the Shield ladder in each of his three seasons in charge so far, while also failing to make the finals of the domestic one-day competition.

Ponting, who capped off a decorated Australian career by leading the Shield run-scoring charts in 2012-13 to help lead Tasmania to the four-day title, concedes it’s been barren run for his former state since his departure.

“Things haven’t gone well in Tasmanian cricket the last couple of years,” he said.

“Coaches getting sacked are things you don’t like to hear, with Wright not offered a new contract either with the Hurricanes and now Dan’s contract terminated with three Shield games to go.

“It sums up the lack of success Tasmanian cricket has had in the last couple of seasons.”

Di Venuto earlier this month expressed his interest in the Hurricanes coaching job, but it would appear unlikely that he could take on the Tigers job without giving up his position at Surrey.

The 43-year-old, who represented Australia nine times in one-day internationals, signed a two-year contract extension with the county in December but could follow in the footsteps of former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie in combining a role in the United Kingdom with a BBL stint. 

Gillespie coached the Adelaide Strikers in the English winter with Yorkshire’s approval, paving the way for Di Venuto to pursue a similar arrangement.

“I would certainly be interested in (the Hurricanes coaching position), absolutely,” Di Venuto told The Mercury.

“It is not really in my court, I’m not sure whether they are advertising or what they are doing.

“If we have to cross the bridge I’ll see what happens.

“There is certainly some interest there, but I also feel for a good mate (Wright) who lost his job as well.”

Di Venuto also said he hoped Hurricanes players had called Wright to apologise for their poor performances that led to the non-renewal of his contract.

And he echoed those sentiments on Friday in relation to Marsh’s axing, tweeting that there should be “some very embarrassed Tasmanian cricketers” in the wake of the coach’s departure.