McDonald coy on head coaching aspirations

Troy Whittaker |

Interim Australian men’s cricket coach Andrew McDonald insists he won’t introduce radical change after the dramatic departure of Justin Langer.

Praised by Test captain Pat Cummins and white-ball skipper Aaron Finch for his calm demeanour, McDonald is considered a favourite to assume Australia’s full-time head coach role.

The 40-year-old oversaw Friday night’s 20-run win in the first of five Twenty20s against Sri Lanka and will lead a historic tour of Pakistan next month.

A reserved McDonald says he isn’t focused on his future beyond those assignments but is “fascinated” to see how Australia and England go about filling their vacant coaching roles.

“No thoughts given to it (the full-time role) at this stage,” McDonald said.

“I think the greater conversation around that is clearly Australia and England have got jobs open, but it’s what they’re looking for.

“Split roles have been mentioned, all three formats, that type of thing. There’s a lot to work through, but I’ll wait to see that process unfold and see what happens.

“Firstly, you’ve got to see what they’re looking for in the job and then whether it’s the right fit for you. It’s like any coaching role that you put your hat in the ring for.”

Much has been made of Langer’s supposed volatility and how it affected the players, but McDonald won’t look to overhaul much in the interim after a successful summer.

“In the last six months we’ve had an incredible time,” he said.

“It’s been well-documented the change-room was in a good space. The (T20) World Cup was a great experience, the Ashes was a great experience.

“I can’t see there being a hell of a lot of change on the back of that.”

In keeping with Cummins’s press conference earlier in the week, McDonald lauded Langer’s contribution since taking over the helm during Australian cricket’s nadir in 2018.

“I learnt plenty (from Langer),” he said.

“The values that he instilled into the team; the way he was able to manage things from South Africa forward I think was an incredible effort.

“An incredibly high work-rate, that attention to detail, care, empathy – all those types of things that have played out.

“Just respect for what he’s done in terms of his playing career and coaching career.”

McDonald confirmed he’d been in contact with Langer via text message after the former mentor opted to resign having only been offered a six-month contract extension.