EXCLUSIVE: Ricky Ponting tells Guerilla Cricket: I could have been England coach.

Ricky Ponting has revealed that he was in the frame for the England cricket head coaching job which eventually went to Brendon McCullum.


The former Australian captain said that he had been approached by Rob Key, the ECB managing director, before the post was finally awarded to the New Zealander, who, with the captain Ben Stokes, has reshaped the way the national team performs in the ultra-attacking style labelled “Bazball”.


Gary Kirsten, the former South Africa opener, had been tipped to win the battle to succeed Chris Silverwood as head coach before Key backed his hunch and opted for McCullum, who had been considered more likely to pick up the white-ball role that went to Matthew Mott.


But asked, in an exclusive interview with the UK-based internet commentary service, guerillacricket.com, whether he could ever see himself coaching the England side, Ponting said: “I actually got asked before Brendon took the job, there you go.  You guys might be the first to find that out – but I did take some calls from Robert Key as soon as he took over that job.


“But I’m just not ready for a full-time international coaching job, where I’m at in my life. Having travelled as much as I have, with young kids now I just don’t want to be away as much as I was. And even talking to Brendon, his family is only just arriving today. When you’ve got kids that are in school, moving them around, that’s not what I want to do.”


Ponting, who spent three months coaching the Delhi Capitals in the IPL, played golf with McCullum the day after the compelling first Test, which went down to the wire with Australia eventually emerging victorious by two wickets after 7pm on Tuesday.


He fed back that few changes were likely to be made before the second Test, at Lord’s, although thought it possible that Mark Wood would come in for Moeen Ali, whose blistered right index-finger hampered him in the Australian second innings, with the spin responsibilities falling to Joe Root.


Ponting also questioned Stokes’ failure to use England’s leading wicket-taker, James Anderson, during the denouement on the fifth day, as he delayed taking the new ball for five overs, fearing that the extra hardness would encourage more destructive strokeplay from Australia’s ninth wicket pair of Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.


The ruse seemed to have paid off as Root accepted a third ferocious caught and bowled chance to dismiss Alex Carey, the Australia wicketkeeper-batsman, but in the 83rd over he was smashed for two straight sixes by Cummins, blows that gave the tourists renewed hope of victory.


Ponting said: “When they did take the new ball, they opted not to give it to James Anderson, which was a little bit strange. He said that he was a bit off-colour but it didn’t look as if he was that far off the mark. You’re talking about England’s leading wicket-taker with an Ashes Test match on the line – if Glenn McGrath’s in my side and he isn’t at his absolute best, I still know where I’m going.

“If you’re playing the percentages – and as a captain a lot of the time you have to play the percentages and you’re thinking what’s the best scenario; you can ask this question yourself: who’s likely to get you a Test match wicket, Ollie Robinson or James Anderson?


Ponting is in England to commentate for Sky Sports on the Ashes, having fulfilled a similar role for the ICC at the World Test Championship between India and Australia.

He is also promoting his new wine label, developed with renowned sommelier Ben Riggs, via a sponsorship with guerillacricket.com’s coverage of this summer’s series. Two of the wines were selected from his homeland Tasmania, which is often overlooked as consumers opt for more famous vintages from the likes of the Hunter Valley, near Sydney.

You can listen to full interview here