Following Australia’s 1-0 away Test series victory over Pakistan, Cricket Australia’s search for a new head coach might have come to an end with captain Pat Cummins praising interim coach Andrew McDonald for his contribution to the team’s success.
“Fantastic,” Cummins said of McDonald after the win in Lahore. “Not unexpected. He’s a great operator. The boys absolutely love him. Very diligent, very thorough, strategic, very organized. He’s a huge part of this tour win.”
McDonald was given the interim post following the tumultuous departure of former coach Justin Langer only weeks before the Pakistan trip, as he rejected down offers to work in the IPL in order to head the Pakistan tour.
Cummins’ admiration for McDonald’s quiet work behind the scenes on the tour is notable, considering the Test captain’s guarded replies when asked similar questions about Langer during the former coach’s contract renewal process and following his resignation.
“His preparation, and all the support staff. It’s not just the 11 players who walk out; we’ve got a squad of 30-odd people who have been working so hard this month, and it’s also important. I’ve said before it’s not my place to employ the coach, but Ronnie [McDonald] has been fantastic.”
McDonald has been Langer’s senior assistant in charge of the bowling group since late 2019. For the Pakistan tour, Cricket Australia added a trusted assistant in Andre Borovec, who had previously worked closely with McDonald when he was in charge of Victoria and Melbourne Renegades, as well as bringing in a similarly friendly face in Fawad Ahmed as spin coach at short notice when full-time spin coach S Sriram was unable to tour.
Daniel Vettori, who served as McDonald’s substitute at Birmingham Pheonix in the Hundred last year because the Victorian was unable to coach in person owing to Australia obligations, will join Australia’s coaching crew for the limited-overs matches in Pakistan.
Andrew McDonald has been widely seen as the favourite to take over the post of full-time, and it is doubtful that the position of head coach will be divided into two, with the chosen individual likely to be the coach of all three versions. However, stronger frameworks may be in place to assist control the workload of the head coach; however, the structure’s appearance may vary depending on the candidate picked.
Australia won their first away Test series since 2016 after beating Pakistan in the Test series on their home turf by 1-0, and their first Test series in Asia since 2011. Australia had been consistent, and more importantly, patient throughout the series. The squad stuck to its plan of not chasing the game or attempting to press the issue with the ball, but rather to be patient, keep the scoreboard under control, and wait for an opportunity when a hint of a reverse swing or a batting error opened the door.