Former Australia allrounder Shane Watson believes the time is right for the Australian national side to move away from the traditional setup of having a single coach in charge of all three formats – and has strongly endorsed two prime candidates.
Following the resignation of long-standing mentor Justin Langer earlier this month, Cricket Australia installed Andrew McDonald as interim coach as they look for a new successor.
But Watson, who represented his country in all three formats on more than 300 occasions, thinks Australia should introduce a new coaching setup that allows the top job to be shared.
“I think it is going to have to be a necessity to break up the formats with their (Australia’s) coaches,” Watson said on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
“I think there is a good chance they will split the roles as I don’t think it is sustainable that everyone does every single format for a long period of time.
“There is always going to be burnout and fatigue in a team environment, especially now with Covid and bubbles and similar situations that are around.
“The sooner that Cricket Australia break up the formats with the coaches I think everyone will benefit from it.”
While Watson expects to see McDonald part of any new coaching setup, the 40-year-old was glowing in his praise for former England coach Trevor Bayliss as someone Cricket Australia must look at.
Bayliss has a wealth of experience at international level having been in charge of Sri Lanka (2007-2011) and England (2015-2019), while also being successful at domestic level within Australia and in the Indian Premier League.
“I love the experience Trevor Bayliss has,” Watson, who played under Bayliss during the early years of the Australian domestic Big Bash League competition, said.
“He has probably seen every single thing possible in cricket just about and I would love to see him get a great opportunity.
“Andrew McDonald is a great coach and is in the early part of his career, but I would err towards experience just for this interim period for the next stage of Australian cricket.”
Regardless of the new coaching setup, Watson is predicting a fruitful short-term future for Australian cricket on the back of a successful recent period that was highlighted by an ICC Men’s T20 World Cup triumph and an Ashes series victory over England under Langer.
“He (Langer) did a tremendous job to know the success he had as a coach to be able to be a part of a team and the resurrection of them winning the T20 World Cup for the first time,” Watson said.
“There have been a lot of tries beforehand and the team wasn’t able to get across the line and to be able to win the most recent Ashes series 4-0 here at home is an incredible achievement as a coach.
“He did a brilliant job at a time when Australian cricket really needed someone to come in and pull back everyone around the team at that time to and instill the fabric of the baggy green is exactly what Justin Langer did incredibly well.”
And Watson is impressed with new Test captain Pat Cummins, after the New South Welshman had the leadership role thrust upon him following the departure of Tim Paine on the eve of the Ashes series.
“For me, he is the ultimate,” Watson said of Cummins.
“He was in a no-win situation leading up to Justin Langer handing in his resignation because if he commented either way it was not going to look good.
“The way he handled it after it had settled down and Justin Langer had resigned, he has handled it all so well because he is so personable, very honest and very endearing to the public and to his teammates.
“I am super excited for the Australian team with Pat leading the charge and the next phase of Australian cricket because they have certainly got the talent and the leadership to be able to take it forward.”