What would Matthew Mott’s departure mean for our Australian women’s cricket team?

More and more reports suggest Matthew Mott is the frontrunner likely to be appointed as the white head coach of the new England cricket team.

Last week, the ECB officially announced that Kiwi Brendon McCullum would oversee the Test side of a four-year deal, but the board has yet to commit to someone for the shorter formats.

Brendon McCullum will lead the English men’s test team for the next four years.Getty Images: Gareth Copley

At the time of writing, that decision was expected to be a two-man race between interim coach Paul Collingwood and Mott.

The Australian has been at the helm of our No. 1 women’s team in the world since 2015 and is currently under contract until September 2023.

It is the second time this year that Mott has been associated with a men’s national team after he was touted as a replacement for Justin Langer following his resignation in February.

Matthew Mott loved by female players
Matthew Mott is respected by the women’s cricket community.AAP: Scott Barbour

In late March, while in the midst of leading the Australian women’s team to the 2022 Women’s World Cup trophy, Mott was asked if he’d thought about throwing his hat in the ring.

In response, Mott revealed that he had certainly considered crossing over, but that he was in no rush to leave his current position.

“As a coach you have to look at the next road… it will always be there: ‘What’s next?’ … But I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing right now.”

Now it looks like he will shift focus not only when it comes to gender, but also in loyalty to the country.

However, Mott is a much loved member of the cricket community and fans are unlikely to hold a grudge if he does indeed move on.

What would his departure mean for the Australian women’s team?

After seven years in charge, you can see why Mott might be looking for a new challenge when he has seemingly achieved everything possible in the international women’s game.

During that time, Australia has held the Women’s Ashes for the past four series, setting a new world record for the longest ODI winning streak in men’s or women’s cricket (26 straight) and winning three World Cups in limited-overs formats since last month, including that unforgettable night in 2020 at the MCG.

Australian captain Meg Lanning lifts the T20 World Cup trophy
Australia win the T20 World Cup after beating India in front of 86,174 people in the MCG.MONKEY: Scott Barbour/File

It’s also interesting to think about the rise of the women’s game since Mott entered service in March 2015, the same year the Women’s Big Bash launched, and a year before the NSW Breakers became the first full-time professionally paid team in the Women’s National. Cricket League (WNCL).

Now the WBBL is a highly rated TV product, with a cumulative average audience of 5.36 million viewers last season, setting the standard for other women’s sports across the country when it comes to interest and sponsorship.

The WNCL has also come a long way, building to a full home-and-away season for the first time this summer with an average of $7,000 extra in game payments.

A group of female cricketers in orange hold up a trophy and shout for joy in the middle of the stadium
The WBBL is known as the best women’s T20 competition in the world.AAP: Richard Wainwright/File

Mott’s influence cannot be neglected during this period, as a passionate advocate for the rights of female players and their worth.

Moreover, the success of the team, thanks to his guidance, has prompted those responsible to continue to raise the standards of the women’s trajectories and their investment in the game.

Some were at times critical of Mott’s decisions to favor all-round abilities when it comes to selection.

Opting for players who can field, bat and bowl, rather than a specialist who opens the door with incredible form.

The Tasmanian team poses for a photo with the WNCL trophy.
Tasmania won the WNCL for the first time in 2022.MONKEY: Linda Higginson/File

He has also shown loyalty to players already in the Australian set-up, relying on their ability to get good based on past performances when they’ve had a longer dip in form.

Despite others failing for these reasons, the team’s incredible success under his tenure means the approach has generally paid off.

So how would the team do without Mott around?

Australia already has a strong senior leadership group, with some of the best players in the world.

A cricketer raises her bat in one hand and her helmet in the other as he celebrates her century.
Meg Lanning has experienced success as a player and captain during her time with the Australian women’s team.Reuters: Peter Cziborra/File

Meg Lanning has been captain since 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down, while veteran campaigners Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Jess Jonassen, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney are likely to see the squad through the transition period.

Lanning and Mott have always had a particularly collaborative approach to the team and their tactics on the field, meaning it’s likely whoever replaces Mott will have to share that temperament and cooperative quality.

Who would most likely take over?

Although he hasn’t left yet, there are a number of Australian coaches waiting in the wings.

Former Australian all-rounder Shelley Nitschke has worked full-time as an assistant under Mott for the past four years and is the head coach of the 2021 WBBL champions, the Perth Scorchers.

During an international career stretching from 2004 to 2011, Nitschke represented Australia at four World Cups and won trophies in both the 50-overs (2005) and T20 (2010) formats.

Nitschke gets a scalp again
Shelley Nitschke had one of her best summers for the Australian team in 2010.Getty Images: Mark Dadswell

Nitschke was named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2010 and won the Belinda Clark Award four years in a row, from 2009 to 2012.

As someone who played six exhibition games, Nitschke’s experience would be invaluable in an era where women’s cricket is looking to play more of the traditional format.

Other strong contenders are Ben Sawyer and Jo Broadbent.

Sawyer is the second assistant coach currently under Mott and has a strong multi-player relationship from his seven seasons in charge of the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL.

He won two back-to-back titles in WBBL02 and WBBL03. According to Ellyse Perry, he was an integral figure for Australia’s win in the Ashes 2019.

After working part-time with the National side in previous series, Sawyer was appointed full-time in 2021.

Jo Broadbent smiling while wearing a blue jacket
Jo Broadbent’s time with the NSW Breakers saw her become one of Australia’s most successful coaches.Supplied: Cricket NSW/Gregg Porteous

Meanwhile, Broadbent, like Nitschke, a former Australian batter, is known as our first female player to reach a double century in Tests (1998).

Broadbent led the NSW Breakers to six WNCL titles in seven years, winning the WBBL’s inaugural season as head coach of the Sydney Thunder.

Today Broadbent coaches Northern Districts in New Zealand as she wants to help grow the game elsewhere, but Cricket Australia could probably lure her back over the ditch, especially if it means coaching the national team she once played for .

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