Ponting approached for off-field leadership role

CHRIS BARRETT
Last updated 09:41 06/12/2012
Ricky Ponting
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FINAL FAREWELL: Ricky Ponting addresses a press conference with his daughter Emmy after retiring from international cricket.

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Cricket Australia has wasted no time in trying to lure Ricky Ponting into coaching, approaching the retired batting great's management in a bid to secure his services.

The 37-year-old wound up his record-breaking run as a Test player after Australia's loss to South Africa in Perth on Monday, announcing before the match it would be his last.

His successor as captain, Michael Clarke, implored the country's governing body to ensure Ponting remained part of the structure, saying: ''It's really important that Cricket Australia do everything in their power to try and keep him involved.''

CA has already acted on that call, speaking to Ponting's management about keeping the 168-Test veteran in the national system in some capacity.

''We've been in contact with his agent,'' its general manager of team performance, Pat Howard, said.

''It's obviously very soon but we'd love him involved in some way, shape or form in the future. He's going to have a reasonable amount of time to digest that.''

Ponting will finish the domestic season with Tasmania and in the T20 Big Bash League with the Hobart Hurricanes before ending his top-class playing days entirely. CA has not offered him a specific job, but considers him able to shift into a range of roles, from coaching, administration, or possibly even to serve on the ICC cricket committee, of which ex-captain Mark Taylor is a member.

''Obviously his attitude to training, his dedication and love for the game is pretty obvious to everybody,'' Howard said. ''We've had an initial open-the-door conversation with his agent while still trying to be sensitive to his situation.

''That door has been opened but it's very much one to be continued. He's got some cricket with Tasmania and the Hurricanes for the rest of the year but obviously he knows where the ball lies.

'There's a gamut [of options]. Coaching, at the Centre of Excellence with real technical work, administration, the ICC. The first thing is to be compassionate to where he is at the moment and give him time. There's going to be a lot of conversations over the next couple of years, I'd imagine.''

Ponting would be a natural coach. He was renowned for being more often than not the last player to leave training sessions with Australia, and for mentoring younger batsmen and sharing his expertise. Howard quotes the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000-hour rule on excellence in a field to explain Ponting's value.

''You talk about people that have got their 10,000 hours - he's most certainly done that,'' he said. ''There are many ways that I reckon cricket can benefit from Ricky being involved, but that's something ... he'll get a bit of clarity around [in coming months]. We're happy to put him in different avenues to expose him to different things as well that may spark his interest. I think the world is his oyster in cricket.''

Howard said Ponting's experience would ''lend himself really well'' to coaching, a belief espoused last week by the outgoing Tasmania coach Tim Coyle. After Coyle said this season would be his last in charge of the Tigers, there is a vacancy in Ponting's home state.

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''He sees things in individuals, batters and bowlers, that us mere mortals take years to identify," Coyle said. ''But he sees them very quickly.

''He's just got an innate understanding of what has to happen, whether it's with the ball or with the bat. He's brilliant in that area.

''If he goes on and coaches somewhere, and I'm pretty sure he will, he'll be a tremendous asset and hopefully that's an asset to Australian cricket.''

- Sydney Morning Herald

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