Ricky Ponting returns to the BBL

Australian cricket legend and proud Tasmanian Ricky Ponting returns to the Hobart Hurricanes in an off-field role.

Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has signed a three-year deal to become chief of strategy for the Hobart Hurricanes and believes Tim Paine would fit “perfectly” with his vision for the BBL franchise.

Ponting has already begun the search for Adam Griffith’s replacement as head coach and with former Australian coach Justin Langer at the top of his mind, Ponting says there are “pages and pages” of candidates he will consider for the position.

Ponting could make his work for him by luring Paine to the Hurricanes; the ex-Test captain has been on mental health leave from professional cricket since November when it was revealed he had sent sexually explicit messages to a former Cricket Tasmania employee.

While Ponting didn’t explicitly say he was considering Paine for the head coach role, he said he’d say “never never” when it came to offering him a position with the franchise somewhere.

“What I would like to achieve with the Hurricanes is to bring as many great Tasmanian people back into the franchise as possible,” said Ponting, who played for the Hurricanes in BBL|01 and BBL|02.

“I think Tim Paine fits that mold perfectly. So if he’s ever ready to walk back in the purple shirt, I’m sure many Tasmanians would want to see him.”

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The successful candidate for the head coach job will be someone with whom Ponting has a good relationship as he will work with the coach on a match and list strategy for BBL|12 and beyond.

Ponting and Langer are close, having played test cricket together in Australia’s ‘golden era’ in the 2000s.

Ponting also confirmed Langer had told him about his desire to coach again, but said he wasn’t sure if his friend would need more time away from the spotlight; Langer did not leave his position as Australian cricket coach until February.

“(Longer) is probably the one I’ve talked to the most about it so far,” Ponting said.

“To be honest, we’ve had a bit of a dialogue for the past six or seven months. Nothing has been finalized with Justin yet.

“He definitely wants to coach again. I think he needs to think a little more about a commitment over the summer. Every conversation I’ve had with him so far, he wants to coach again.”

Ponting said he needed a coach who could inspire the locker room in the Hurricanes’ quest for their first BBL title.

“I know JL would do a great job if he was the one,” Ponting said.

“I have pages and pages of names of guys that I think would do great. I haven’t necessarily put them in order yet and I’ll be ticking them off in the coming weeks.”

In terms of the Hurricanes’ playlist, Ponting said that at the top of his wish list would be a “high quality overseas spinner” and “one who can hit in the highest order and possibly have a few overs of spin”.

He said the unwanted BBL superstar Chris Lynn hadn’t thought of his plans yet; the Brisbane Heat informed Lynn in May that his services would not be needed in BBL|12.

“When I look at (Hurricanes batters) Wade, McDermott, Short, David, I’m not sure I prefer Chris Lynn over a lot of those guys,” Ponting said.

Since he retired from playing, Ponting has proven himself to be an adept coach and analyst of the shortest stature.

He led the Delhi Capitals to their first IPL final in 2020 and then to the match for the final in the tournament that followed.

Ponting was briefly an assistant to Australian coach Darren Lehmann in 2018, but has previously cited “time commitments” due to his inability to take on a larger role with the national team.

Ponting is also considered one of the most insightful members of Channel 7’s BBL commentary team, who he says could be an asset to the Hurricanes.

“After commenting so much on the BBL, my knowledge of the opposition players will probably be as good as anyone’s,” Ponting said.

“I’m looking forward to getting to work and finding the best coach for what we need, then building a plan for the team to execute next season.

“With a few adjustments in some key areas, I believe the Hurricanes have the foundation to win our first BBL trophy.”

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