Shelley Nitschke has signed a contract extension with the Perth Scorchers but that won’t rule her out of the race to coach Australia.
Cricket Australia says Shelley Nitschke’s decision to sign a contract extension with the Perth Scorchers won’t preclude her from becoming the full-time head coach of the Australian women’s team if selected.
CA appointed Nitschke interim coach of the champion Aussie side last month after Matthew Mott resigned to take the reins of the English men’s white-ball team.
Since Mott’s resignation, Aussie players have publicly endorsed either Nitschke or assistant Ben Sawyer as long-term candidates for the job.
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Sawyer’s ability to take the role appears under a cloud; however, Kiwi media has linked him to the head coaching role with the New Zealand women’s team, but neither CA nor New Zealand Cricket has made an official announcement yet.
Nitschke’s decision to sign a new contract with the Scorchers, whom she led to the WBBL|07 title, also seemed to throw a spanner in the works on Wednesday.
While Cricket Australia doesn’t schedule international fixtures during the WBBL tournament in October and November, no one has ever coached both a Big Bash franchise and the Australian national side at the same time.
But a CA spokesperson told News Corp that Nitschke’s decision to re-sign with the Scorchers would not rule her out of contention for the Australian job.
Cricket Australia has yet to begin the recruitment process for the role and won’t do so until after the Commonwealth Games end in August.
There is expected to be strong interest in the job from around the globe, given the professional nature of women’s cricket in Australia and the team’s status as undisputed world champions.
Fronting the media on Wednesday, Nitschke was tight-lipped about her aspirations beyond Australia’s inaugural Commonwealth Games campaign.
“I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” she said.
“I’ve sort of just been working on what’s coming up in the next couple of months because it’s pretty exciting with the Commonwealth Games.”
Nitschke said her ability to juggle the two roles would “need to be assessed down the track”.
“At the moment, I’m interim head coach,” she said.
“‘Motty’ moving on happened pretty quickly. We knew we had to get things moving, so I’ll just be doing the best I can from the team and working closely with the playing leaders to make sure that we keep our standards high and keep our performances at the level that they have been.”
The Aussies are set to meet India, Barbados and Pakistan in the group stage at the Commonwealth Games, but before that, they’ll meet both Ireland and Pakistan in a tri-nation series in mid-July.