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McDonald never considered England due to split coaching roles

New Australia coach believes that international teams should have one person in charge across formats

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Andrew McDonald will hand extra responsibility to his assistant coaches in some series  •  Getty Images and Cricket Australia

Andrew McDonald will hand extra responsibility to his assistant coaches in some series  •  Getty Images and Cricket Australia

New Australia coach Andrew McDonald insists there was never a risk he would have pursued the England job due to his firm belief that international coaches should oversee all three formats, with England set to split the roles down white and red-ball lines.
McDonald was formally appointed as Australia's new coach last month taking over the post permanently from Justin Langer on a four-year deal.
There was interest from England in both McDonald and Langer prior to Rob Key being appointed as new ECB managing director of men's cricket.
But Key's desire to split England's coaching roles, with the two jobs advertised last week, dissuaded McDonald from considering it prior to taking the Australia job.
"No I don't think there was a risk," McDonald told SEN. "I think the way that they're going to set-up, structure up, is clear. I think they're going to go for a split coaching role. My views on that differ slightly."
McDonald would not have taken the Australia job had it been split into two roles. His reasoning is that the consistency of messaging from one figurehead is vitally important despite the enormous workload that comes with coaching an international team.
"My belief is to still have that one coach and share the workload within that," McDonald said. "I think for me the continuity of messaging is critical. But also the priorities shift. And people probably don't like me saying this, but the priorities do shift at certain times. You can't be everything to everyone.
"For example, Pat Cummins, on the back of three Test matches in Pakistan, at the end of that he's severely fatigued and then the white-ball team gets compromised because Pat Cummins isn't playing. But he's not ready to perform in that environment.
"If you had split coaches, which format takes priority? So, I think the ability to have one selection panel, one coach to work through that, give the direction to what the priorities are at the time and managing the overall squad as such and then someone, potentially a Michael Di Venuto or another assistant coach, coming in to allow the head coach to balance the workload but still stick on the same path.
"For example, we're going to build towards the 2023 World Cup, am I going to do every one-day game leading into that World Cup? There's no chance of that. So I think that the continuity of messaging for me is important."
England have tried to split the coaching roles previously in 2012 between Andy Flower (Tests) and Ashley Giles (ODIs and T20Is) with the push and pull between formats causing a lot of friction between the pair.
McDonald was keen to avoid any such scenario in the Australia job. McDonald and Cricket Australia's head of national teams Ben Oliver have several assistant coaching appointments to make prior to the three-format tour of Sri Lanka in June.
McDonald needs to find a full-time bowling coach to replace the role he has vacated since ascending to the head coaching job, while Jeff Vaughan has left his post as an assistant coach to take on the head coach position in Tasmania, leaving a second hole to fill within Australia's ranks.
Test cricket remains the priority for Australia as they remain in the frame for the World Test Championship final next year while a T20 World Cup title defence at home this year will also mean McDonald is heavily involved in the T20I series ahead of that. But there is likely to be an ODI series against Zimbabwe in August/September where McDonald could rest as well as other ODI series over what is shaping as a hectic 18 months of cricket for Australia.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo