Bayliss to coach Australia against South Africa
New South Wales coach Trevor Bayliss will take charge of Australia's national team for the start of the home summer against South Africa in November. Cricket Australia has announced that Bayliss will be acting coach for the Twenty20 international portion of South Africa's visit, which takes place only days after the Australians return from their Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.
With many of Australia's Test players likely to be rested from the T20s given the quick turnaround from the UAE, the coach Darren Lehmann will also be asked to focus on the rest of the coming summer. South Africa's limited-overs tour will be followed by four Tests against India, before the focus switches back to one-day cricket, including the World Cup through February and March.
It is not the first time Lehmann has been given a break from the match-day duties - his former assistant Steve Rixon took charge for the one-day tour of India that followed last year's Ashes in England. Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance, said the idea was to allow Lehmann to focus on the ODI and Test outfits during a busy summer schedule.
"With Lehmann in the UAE focused on the Test matches, we have appointed Trevor to focus on the Australian T20 team to give them the best chance of winning the T20 international series against South Africa," Howard said. "At the same time, on his return Darren will be able to refocus on bringing the ODI team together in a very big year for 50-over cricket.
"Darren will have had the Zimbabwe tri-series and the UAE tour against Pakistan in quick succession immediately before the biggest ever summer of cricket in Australia, so it's important he has some time to prepare for each series. By appointing an experienced coach such as Trevor to prepare this team he will have longer to bring the team together to compete against South Africa.
"The summer finishes with the World Cup which is then closely followed by a tour of West Indies and then an Ashes tour. The dual benefit of this decision is that it presents a great opportunity for Trevor to work with the Australian team and is another example of Australian cricket working collectively as 'one team'."
Bayliss has plenty of coaching experience at international level, having been in charge of the Sri Lanka team from 2007 to 2011. Last year, he was appointed to a second term as coach of New South Wales, having originally steered the state from 2004-05 until he was handed the Sri Lankan job.
"Trevor has obviously coached at international level before and more recently has coached New South Wales to a Sheffield Shield title," Howard said. "He has won the BBL and Champions League Twenty20 with the Sixers and an IPL title with Kolkata, so we know that while Darren is away the team will be in good hands."
Lehmann said with a "huge period" coming up that would include almost non-stop cricket from the tour of Zimbabwe in August until the end of the 2015-16 home summer, planning ahead would be especially important.
"Trevor is a very good coach with international experience and has led NSW and the Sydney Sixers extremely well so I have no worries handing the team over to him; the players might actually enjoy having a different voice for these matches," Lehmann said. "Given the schedule, it's also likely that Australia's key Test players won't be part of those opening T20 matches, giving them time to get ready and prepare for the one-day and Tests that follow."
Bayliss said: "I'm very grateful for the opportunity to work with some of Australia's best T20 players. Of course it will be hard to leave New South Wales at the start of the season, but I'm very much looking forward to this opportunity and know that the Blues will be well looked after while I'm away."
The schedule for Australia's home summer has not yet been released by Cricket Australia.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale