BBL news – Ricky Ponting reveals Justin Langer might be interested in coaching Hobart Hurricanes

BBL news - Ricky Ponting reveals Justin Langer might be interested in coaching Hobart Hurricanes

Ricky Ponting believes former Australia coach Justin Langer wants to coach again and is one of the top names on a long list of candidates he would like to hire as Hobart Hurricanes coach after taking on a formal role as head of strategy for the BBL franchise.

Hurricanes announced on Thursday that Ponting had signed a three-year deal with his former club to take on a newly created head of strategy role. Ponting will fulfil the role alongside his commentary commitments with Channel Seven and his IPL coaching commitments with Delhi Capitals. But the role has been designed for him to take charge of the recruitment of a new senior coach, assistant coaches, list management, team strategy, and culture as Hurricanes continue to chase their maiden title after 11 years of trying.

Langer has been linked to the Hurricanes job in recent months, even prior to Ponting’s appointment. Hurricanes are still searching for a new coach after Adam Griffith stepped down at the end of last season. Langer has spoken publicly in recent weeks about the toll of the exit from the Australia coaching job and has been adamant he is still undecided on his next career move.

Speaking at a press conference in Hobart on Thursday, Ponting confirmed he speaks to Langer regularly about the role, amongst informal discussions as longtime friends and confidants, but no formal decisions had been made either way.

“He definitely wants to coach again,” Ponting said. “I think he’s got a bit more thinking to do as far as a commitment like this is concerned through the summer, but every chat I’ve had with him so far, he wants to coach again.

“He’s probably the one that I’ve spoken to the most about it so far. We’ve been having a bit of dialogue through the last probably six or seven months to be honest.

“Nothing’s finalised with Justin yet. But I’ll stay on him because I’ve got a pretty good understanding and feeling of what we need down here at the Hurricanes as far as that head coaching position is concerned.

“I’ll talk to a few of the other people around about what I’d like to be able to achieve with the Hurricanes, [and that] is to bring as many great Tasmanian people back around the franchise as possible, and I think Tim Paine fits perfectly into that mould.”

Ricky Ponting

“Just listening to some of the feedback from players and other people around the setup the last couple of years, it sounds like things could have been a little bit better. Not so much the on-field playing stuff. But some of the other stuff that might happen around a dressing room and around a team. And I know JL would do a great job if he was the one.

“But look, I’ve got a list. I’ve got pages and pages of names of guys that I think would do a great job. I haven’t necessarily put them in order yet. And I’ll pick them off along the way over the next few weeks.”

The prospect of working alongside Ponting would be enticing for Langer. He is also close with newly appointed Tasmania head coach Jeff Vaughan and former Australian captain Tim Paine, who still holds close ties to the Hurricanes. Ponting suggested Paine could also be involved in a coaching capacity if he was keen to be.

“I’ll talk to a few of the other people around about what I’d like to be able to achieve with the Hurricanes, [and that] is to bring as many great Tasmanian people back around the franchise as possible, and I think Tim Paine fits perfectly into that mould,” Ponting said. “So whenever and if he’s ever ready to walk back and put another purple shirt on, I’m sure lots of Tasmanians, would like to see him involved.”

Paine was not offered a contract with Tasmania for the upcoming season having not played since taking indefinite leave from cricket just weeks after he resigned from the Australian Test captaincy. Paine has not made any public statements regarding his own playing or coaching future.

Appointing the coach is Ponting’s top priority in his new role. The new coach will need to be involved in list management decisions that could arise later this month with the BBL finalising details of an overseas draft for the coming season in the coming weeks.

Ponting believes Hurricanes have a core nucleus of a great side with Matthew Wade, Ben McDermott, D’Arcy Short, Tim David, Nathan Ellis and Riley Meredith all locked in for next season, and said that recruiting overseas players for the right roles was more important than getting big names.

Ponting all but ruled out Chris Lynn as a possible recruit to the Hurricanes after Brisbane Heat opted not to renew his contract for the upcoming BBL.

“I’m sure his name will come up,” Ponting said. “But if I look at Wade, McDermott, Short, David, I’m not sure that I’m picking Chris Lynn ahead of any of those guys and what we’ve got here.

“They’re all established Hurricanes players that have been here for awhile. Tim David has just had the one season here. But I’d like to stick with what we’ve got, and get the best out of the guys we’ve got there rather than adding too much from players that have been left out of other BBL franchises.

“I’m not going to make those decisions here and now and by myself. They’re decisions that we’re going to make once the coaching group is together and we can all sit down as a group and actually start making decisions with what we want as far as the list is concerned.”

Ponting also reiterated that he was fully committed to the role despite his Channel Seven commentary commitments, and living full-time in Melbourne, but he had yet to work out whether he would commentate on Hurricanes games or not for Channel Seven.

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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