Australia prepare to ‘reset’ for T20 challenges after coaching changes

The Australia women’s squad will start mapping out their next World Cup campaign this week in Brisbane as they come together for the first since they lifted the ODI silverware in New Zealand and now under interim head coach Shelley Nitschke.

There has been significant change in the coaching staff since the ODI World Cup final with Matthew Mott having left for the England men’s white-ball job and confirmation on Monday that Ben Sawyer, who was an assistant coach, has jumped across the Tasman to lead the New Zealand women’s set-up.

Jude Coleman and Dan Marsh will join Nitschke as assistant coaches for the upcoming tours of Ireland and the Commonwealth Games after the pair took charge of Australia A’s successful series against England A that ran concurrently with the Ashes earlier this year.

Although there won’t be a new full-time head coach appointed until later in the year Nitschke will likely remain the favourite. With the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham followed by the T20 World Cup in South Africa next February there are big targets to aim for.

The challenge for Australia is to stay top of the tree while continuing to push themselves and though there are not expected to be major changes Nitschke will “put my spin on things” over the next couple of months.

“I do have some ideas after watching us, obviously [we are] coming off a strong ODI phase and we are now moving into a heavy T20 phase leading up to a World Cup,” she said. “Part of the camp we are on this week is talking about that sort of thing, having a bit of a reset and looking at how we want to play our T20 cricket.

“There’s going to be some really good discussions over the next couple of days around that and from that we’ll start to look at ways we can potentially stay in that No. 1 position knowing that other teams are coming for us but we need to keep evolving.”

The gathering in Brisbane this week will be largely focused on conditioning and the first meetings since the World Cup before the players come together again at the end of June for what will be a more skills-focused preparation ahead of leaving for Ireland in mid-July. It is at that second camp that Coleman and Marsh will join up with the squad and Nitschke sees fresh voices as a good opportunity.

“They work well together and think their skill sets are really complementary,” she said. “It will be nice and refreshing for the spin bowlers who have been working with me for the last four years to get a different take on things from Marshy and Jude similarly.”

Nitschke has recently signed a two-year extension as head coach of Perth Scorchers in the WBBL but said that how the role plays out in the future should the full-time Australia job come her way will be something to consider at a later date.

“There’s a fair bit to play out before we come to any discussions around that. If it all works for this next season then that would be fantastic to still be involved with the Scorchers. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.”

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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