Caretaker ODI coach will step up: Langer

Rob Forsaith
Andrew McDonald is favoured to take over as the next ODI coach of Australia

Justin Langer knows as well as anybody how formative Australia's one-day tour of India will be for Andrew McDonald, the caretaker coach already in the box seat to be his eventual successor.

Langer has handed the reins over to McDonald for the three-match series that starts in a week, drawing breath after a draining Ashes tour was quickly followed by a productive home summer.

McDonald was playing in the Big Bash four years ago, underlining just how rapid a rise up the coaching ranks it has been for the Victorian appointed Langer's right-hand man in October.

The 38-year-old has now been tasked with overseeing one of the sport's greatest challenges: Stopping Virat Kohli's team in India.

The opportunity comes three-and-a-half years after Langer served as stand-in coach during an ODI tri-series in the West Indies, a precursor to him replacing Darren Lehmann in a full-time capacity after the sandpaper scandal.

Langer has no intention to quit soon, but affirmed that McDonald was the obvious leading candidate to succeed him whenever that does happen.

"Of course. He's the senior assistant coach of the Australian team," Langer told reporters in Sydney.

"He's got great credentials and he'll keep growing.

"He's got a really good opportunity.

"There's different things that happen along the way and one of those was getting the opportunity to coach in the West Indies from Boof ... it was a big part of my apprenticeship."

The obvious question is whether Langer, whose all-consuming love of cricket is matched only by a dedication to his craft that often results in working hours more commonly associated with investment bankers, will actually allow himself a proper break.

The former Test opener will keep his phone on while enjoying some family time, golf and gardening, but made it clear to McDonald that he is now in charge.

"He's an excellent coach, we've got other excellent coaches to back him up," Langer said.

"I said to him this morning, 'we're not reinventing the wheel ... I won't ring him, I'll let him go'.

"He said "I might ring you'. He'll do a really good job."

Australia's white-ball captain Aaron Finch has long regarded former Victoria teammate McDonald as a personal mentor, in addition to working under him in a formal capacity in the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League.

"He is such a great coach ... as well-planned as a coach as I've ever seen," Finch said last year.

"Thinks through every situation really well, doesn't make emotional decisions.

"I've obviously known him a lot longer and dealt with him for a huge amount of time, so I'm a little bit biased."