Australian women's cricket team interim coach Shelley Nitschke has ruled out wholesale changes to the squad as it prepares for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the tri-series against Ireland and Pakistan. Nitschke, who was appointed as an assistant to then head coach Matthew Mott in 2018, took charge of the women's side after the latter recently quit his job to become England men's white-ball coach.
Nitschke said she will first try to assess things over the next few months and then effect changes on a permanent basis, if need be. "I am going to get a pretty good idea over the next couple of months if it's something I want to do on a permanent basis," the ICC quoted Nitschke as telling AAP.
"I will take every day as it comes and see what it brings for me and whether I will throw my hat into the ring (for the job of permanent head coach)." Nitschke has taken over a side that is on a high after clinching the ICC Cricket World Cup in New Zealand for a record seventh time. Senior players of Meg Lanning's side have reportedly backed the promotion of either Nitschke or fellow assistant Ben Sawyer instead of an external candidate, carrying on from Mott's seven-year tenure. The Australian team has met with amazing success of late, with parallels being drawn with their male counterparts of the late 1990s to early 2000s. Nitschke also said that the upcoming tour could reaffirm her ambition for the permanent role. "It (head coach role) will be a lot different to being an assistant, but I have experienced that at the (Perth) Scorchers (Women's Big Bash League side)."
Nitschke added that while she will not be "reinventing the wheel", but given that several key players will retire in the coming years, new ones must step up for the dominance to continue. Stalwarts like Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy are all at the fag end of their illustrious careers, and it could well be called a transition time for Australian women's cricket. The players who could play leading roles in the future include Darcie Brown, Annabel Sutherland, Tahlia McGrath and Alana King among others, and Nitschke felt that transition was just inevitable. "There will be transition at some stage and it is important that you are ready for that with the right people to step in," Nitschke said. "That, and making sure we have sustained success is important."