McDonald tasked with reviving Leicestershire
Leicestershire's management restructuring has continued with the appointment of Andrew McDonald as head coach. McDonald, who played for Leicestershire in 2010 and 2011 and was capped four times by Australia, is still currently a regular member of the South Australia side but is unlikely to be pressed into playing at Grace Road, with compatriot Clint McKay filling the overseas slot next season.
McDonald's name had been linked with the job for some time and his arrival follows that of Wasim Khan as chief executive, with a mandate to reinvigorate the club. Leicestershire finished bottom of Division Two for the second season running and have not won in the Championship since 2012, the worst run by a county since the 1930s.
A thin squad has been further depleted by the departures of Shiv Thakor, Josh Cobb, Nathan Buck and Greg Smith - though Ned Eckersley, Matthew Boyce and Charlie Shreck have signed new contracts. Of McDonald's team-mates during Leicestershire's victorious FLt20 campaign in 2011, only Boyce and Jigar Naik remain.
"I developed a relationship at Leicestershire as a player and the opportunity to return in the role of Head Coach is one I am looking forward to," McDonald said. "To take on the challenge of creating a successful, but also importantly sustainable cricket programme, while fostering the development of an emerging group of young players, is an extremely exciting prospect for me.
"Coaching has always been something I have harboured ambitions to pursue. I think that going into coaching at a relatively young age, while still involved in cricket in the way I am in Australia as a player, is a very progressive move for both myself and Leicestershire."
McDonald succeeds Phil Whitticase, who was removed as director of cricket last month but remains with the club for the time being. Leicestershire's interim chief executive, Andrew Boyce, praised McDonald as the "epitome of Australian grit" and someone with "a strong mental attitude to winning games". Leicestershire fans are unlikely to have forgotten his record as the club's leading run-scorer in their unexpected FLt20 success.
"Andrew was a great influence on the younger lads as a player here," Boyce said. "He helped us to get over the line on numerous occasions. Andrew was a good performer on the pitch and a very good person to have in the dressing room. When somebody is able to have time to make decisions in the cauldron environment in T20, you know you have a clear thinker. Andrew has always been able to make an assessment of what is required to win a game and never panics.
"Andrew is currently playing a key role at South Australia and has lots of experience in the Big Bash. His fellow Australians look up to him and respect him. That says a lot about his character and standing in the game."