DELHI – Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, believed his new commentary deal would aid his coaching ambitions.
Ponting, currently in India coaching Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, was one of the names doing the rounds when Darren Lehmann quit as Australia coach following the ball-tampering scandal. He had been assistant coach to the team in February during the T20 tri-series against England and New Zealand in February, and was tipped to take up the role on a full-time basis before Justin Langer was confirmed as Australia head coach across formats.
Ponting then signed a commentary deal with Channel 7, leading to suggestions that it would hinder his coaching ambitions. The 43-year-old, however, believed that closely following the game in his new role would instead prove beneficial.
“Being with Channel 7 now, if anything, probably enhances my opportunities to coach whether that be over here in India in the IPL or maybe some more involvement around the Australian team,” Ponting said.
The former captain added that broadcasting was something he was passionate about as well.
"First and foremost, I love the game of cricket, I love broadcasting the game of cricket,” he said.
“I’ve had a wonderful last four or five years doing that on the Big Bash coverage back in Australia. I’m excited to do that again for the next few years.”
He said he would keep building his coaching portfolio – “The coaching thing will always be there in the background when I need it” – and offered his full support to Langer.
"Justin is absolutely the right man and if I can get involved in any way trying to help him out, maybe even as an assistant coach around the T20 format or one-day format, then absolutely, I’d love to do that,” he said.
“I had a chance to do that in New Zealand in a triangular series working under Darren Lehmann. I absolutely loved being back around that team environment again, so fingers crossed those opportunities might present themselves in the next few months as well."
Ponting said he and Langer were “inseparable” during their playing days, and backed him to move Australia on from the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal.
"I must admit I was devastated for Darren Lehmann to make that decision to stand down like he did," said Ponting. “I’m a great mate of Darren’s and I think he’s done an amazing job as coach of the Australian cricket team.
"But I’m probably even closer to Justin Langer. In our playing days we were probably like inseparable brothers – we did everything together. I think we’ve got very similar thoughts and ideas on the game and team culture.”