Women's cricket's new era excites Nitschke

·3-min read

Shelley Nitschke insists Australia are well set up to continue their dominance of women's cricket after being entrusted with a four-year deal as head coach.

Australia's interim leader since Matthew Mott left in May, Nitschke was on Tuesday confirmed as the person to take the team into the next era.

In the five months since former head coach Mott's exit, Nitschke has already guided Australia to Commonwealth Games gold with the team now owning every trophy available to them.

But the period has already included significant change, with vice-captain Rachael Haynes retiring last week, and skipper Meg Lanning on an indefinite break for personal reasons.

One of Nitschke's first tasks will be to find new assistants, after Ben Sawyer left to take up a role in New Zealand.

Also on the new coach's mind is the fact long-time leaders Lanning, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry are all in the latter half of their careers.

Nitschke has long been aware she faces an era of transition not seen since Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and John Buchanan all left the men's set-up at the same time.

But if she needed any reminding, the task ahead has become clear in recent months.

"That is one of the exciting challenges," Nitschke said.

"Whether it is now, in one year or two years' time, there are going to be some changes.

"For the moment we have a good strong core of a team.

"I expect them to continue and be around for a little while but there are going to be changes afoot.

"We have a really good domestic comp backing us up so it is going to be exciting seeing who puts their hand up."

More immediately, Nitschke could also face a call on the captaincy of the team, with the new coach unsure if she will have Lanning back before December's tour of India.

A home series against Pakistan and the T20 World Cup in South Africa follow, with Australia at least needing to find a new deputy.

Nitschke was hesitant to name candidates on Tuesday, but Healy would likely be a front-runner, alongside Jess Jonassen and Tahlia McGrath. The three are captains of NSW, Queensland and South Australia respectively.

"There are a good group of emerging leaders in our team that are going to have opportunities to stick their hands up," Nitschke said.

"We don't have a designated leadership group but there are people amongst the team and group that are leaders on and off the field.

"Some girls lead in their states. They all have different strengths."

Nitschke played 122 matches for Australia across all three formats between 2005 and 2011, taking 153 wickets and scoring more than 3000 runs.

She took on an assistant role under Mott in the national set up in 2018, and coached Perth to a WBBL title last year in a role she will see out this summer.