Cricket news 2022: Shelley Nitschke appointed head coach of all-conquering Australian women’s team
Former Australian cricketer Shelley Nitschke has officially replaced Matthew Mott as head coach of the all-conquering national women’s team on a four-year deal, keeping her in the role until 2027.
The 45-year-old, who represented Australia on 122 occasions across formats, has served as interim head coach since Mott was poached by the England men’s white-ball team in May, guiding Meg Lanning’s side to a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham last month.
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Nitschke, who was appointed assistant coach of the Australian women’s team in 2018, signed a contract extension with the Perth Scorchers earlier this year but will step down from her position with the WBBL franchise after this summer’s tournament.
After taking charge of the Scorchers in 2019, Nitschke led the team to its maiden WBBL title last summer.
Nitschke scored 3118 runs and claimed 153 wickets during her illustrious international career, winning the coveted Belinda Clark Award four times before her retirement in 2011.
The South Australian all-rounder was named the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2010, winning a T20 World Cup title that same year.
The Australian team is going through a transition period within its leadership group — following Mott’s departure, skipper Lanning stepped away from the game indefinitely to focus on her mental wellbeing, and vice-captain Rachael Haynes retired from all forms of international cricket.
“I’m honoured to have been given this opportunity to lead the team full-time and to continue to build on the legacy created by Matthew Mott,” Nitschke said in a statement.
“While I enjoyed my time working as assistant coach, I feel the time is right to step up and lead this group in what’s shaping as a new era with a new-look coaching group and the retirement of Rachael Haynes.
“The loss of Rach will no doubt be felt, but it presents a great opportunity for others to put their hands up both from a leadership perspective as well as with the bat and in the field.
“Our challenge is to ensure the team continues to evolve; we’ve seen teams like India take their game to the next level and it’s important that the players feel they have the support they need to keep getting better every day.
“Our team continues to go from strength to strength and I’m excited to see what this group can achieve next; there’s some important cricket on the horizon including the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in February and away Ashes next winter, so it’s a great time to be involved.”
During Mott’s seven-year tenure as head coach, the Australian team won two T20 World Cup titles, three Ashes series and two ICC Women’s Championships before lifting the coveted Women’s World Cup in April this year.
“We’re delighted to appoint Shelley as head coach of our world champion women’s team,” Cricket Australia high performance boss Ben Oliver said in a statement.
“She did an outstanding job in an interim capacity during the Commonwealth Games and was the clear standout candidate in the recruitment process.
“Shelley is an incredibly well-respected coach with a proven track record. She knows what it takes to be successful at an international level and brings significant coaching and playing experience to the role.
“She’s been a great mentor for the spin group since joining as an assistant in 2018, helping develop them into some of the world’s leading bowlers, and we look forward to seeing what the team can achieve with Shelley at the helm.
“We have begun recruitment for the vacant assistant coaching roles and look forward to Shelley’s input in that process.”
The Australian women’s team is not scheduled to play any matches until December, a white-ball tour of India.