Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has been named an assistant coach for the team's T20 series against Sri Lanka in February in an interim capacity, and will work alongside Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie. The trio have been brought in with the core of Australia's support staff set to be in India for the four-Test series. Gillespie was appointed to the staff last week.
Ponting had said in November that he was open to a role with the national team, and had expressed interest in a coaching or selection job. He reiterated it after his appointment.
"I always said when I retired that I wanted to get back involved and what better way to do it than alongside a couple of my best mates in cricket, Justin Langer and Jason Gillespie," Ponting was quoted as saying by a press release from Cricket Australia. "We have some incredible Twenty20 talent in this country and I can't wait to work with JL, Dizzy and those selected to have a real crack at doing special for Australia's Twenty20 International ambitions."
Since his retirement from international cricket in 2012, Ponting has taken up a range of cricket and media roles. He played his last T20 in the 2013 edition of the Caribbean Premier League, and had a two-year stint, between 2015 and 2016, as coach of Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Mumbai won the 2015 IPL and finished fifth in the 2016 edition. Ponting has been commentating for Channel Ten in this season of the Big Bash League. Langer and Gillespie, meanwhile, are coaching the Perth Scorchers and the Adelaide Strikers respectively
Pat Howard, Australia's performance manager, said Ponting's appointment would provide an extensive T20 knowledge base for the players to tap into.
"By getting him on board during the series, it will allow Justin, Jason and the players to tap into his extensive Twenty20 knowledge, gained through his time playing and coaching in domestic tournaments in England, the Caribbean, India and Australia, as well as through his time watching the KFC BBL for Network Ten," Howard said.
"The fact Ricky, Justin and Jason all know each other so well through their many years together in the Australia team means they will gel quickly and their significant collective experience of the format should ensure the squad that is selected gets all the guidance it needs off the field," he added.
Ponting scored more than 27,000 runs in an international career that spanned nearly two decades. He was a part of three World Cup-winning squads, captaining them in 2003 and 2007.
Australia's three T20 matches against Sri Lanka will be played at the MCG on February 17, Kardinia Park in Geelong on February 19 and Adelaide Oval on February 22. The Adelaide match takes place the day before the first Test begins in India.