Head coach Matthew Mott has left the Australian women’s side in what captain Meg Lanning has called a “huge” blow.
Australian captain Meg Lanning says the departure of head coach Matthew Mott looms as a “huge” blow for the world champion Aussies but has thrown her support behind two of his assistants as potential long-term successors.
On Wednesday evening, Cricket Australia announced Mott would leave his post after seven years to become coach of England’s white-ball sides.
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Since Mott took the reins of the Aussie women’s side in 2015, the quality of Australian women’s cricket has improved out of sight, thanks in no small part to major pay increases.
Under Mott, Australia won three Ashes series, two T20 World Cups and an ODI World Cup, among other series.
The women’s ODI side has proven particularly dominant, piecing together a record-breaking 26-match winning streak. Lanning said Mott left big shoes to fill.
“‘Motty’ is a huge loss for our group,” she said.
“He’s had a massive impact on our success over the last seven years. He’s really driven the game and our team forward. He’s certainly going to be missed.”
Lanning said as captain she would likely have “a little bit” of input into selecting Mott’s successor and singled out two potential candidates: Mott’s assistant coaches Shelley Nitschke and Ben Sawyer.
Former champion all-rounder Nitschke has been appointed to the role on an interim basis and led the Perth Scorchers to their first WBBL title over the summer.
Sawyer, meanwhile, is highly regarded as a bowling coach and has previously coached the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL.
But before a full-time coach is selected, Lanning said Australia had to focus on bringing home the first cricket gold medal on offer at the Commonwealth Games.
“I think either ‘Shell’ or Ben would be great at the job,” she said.
“I guess the first part is to go over to the Commonwealth Games and to play well and perform with ‘Shell’ in charge, and I guess we’ll go through the process from there.
“From the players’ perspective, all I’m concerned about is how we can play well over in Birmingham and the Northern Ireland tri-series before that.
“The (selection) process will take care of itself.”
All-rounder Ash Gardner also backed one of the two assistants to take the role on but said there’d be no shortage of interest from outside the Australian set-up.
“I would assume that both of them are definitely going to go for the role eventually and I think either of them would fill that role perfectly,” she said.
“But in saying that I know how much interest this job will get. I know we’ve been one of the most successful Australian sides maybe in history. That’s going to attract some really good options.
“Obviously, I’m excited to see who it gets and whoever fills that role is going to be really excited just to be in and around this group. If it is either Shelley or Ben, I know none of us will be complaining.”
Lanning said her ideal coach would have Mott’s people skills and knack for getting the best out of the playing group.
“Playing at the international level is as much about people management as it is about skills,” she said.
Gardner said Mott’s personality was what made him stand out as a coach.
“Just his personality around a group like ours was something that we needed,” she said.
“He was always someone who brought things back into perspective and just put a funny spin on things. I know for myself there was always that constant banter with him.”
In addition, Lanning believes the next coach must not allow the world champion Aussies to rest on their laurels.
“For the new coach coming in, it’s about challenging us, making sure we’re improving and evolving, which is something we have done over the past seven years but we need to continue to do,” she said.
“If we don’t do that then we certainly won’t be the best team in the world.
“It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out. I think we’ve got some pretty good candidates to fill the role. It’s an exciting time. Whoever it is, I look forward to working with them.”