Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has been appointed the head coach of Washington Freedom for the second season of the Major League Cricket (MLC). He has been signed on a two-year contract. Ponting replaces fellow Australian Greg Shipperd, who will return to Cricket New South Wales (CNSW) to focus on the Blues and the Sydney Sixers in the Australian domestic circuit.
"Cricket is really on the rise in the US, and I'm looking forward to being involved in Major League Cricket. I've been impressed by everyone involved at Washington Freedom, and while it's a bit surreal to be replacing my mate Greg Shipperd, there's probably no one better to set up a successful franchise. I'm ready to build on his work as we look towards the coming season."
Ponting has been serving as the head coach of Delhi Capitals (DC) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since 2018. Before that, he also coached Mumbai Indians (MI) for a few seasons and was part of the Australian team's backroom staff on an interim basis.
Klinger, the CNSW Head of Male T20 Cricket and General Manager of Cricket at Washington Freedom, calls Ponting's appointment a huge coup.
"Ricky was one of the most recognised and revered cricketers in the world during his playing days and is now one of the most respected and coveted coaches on the global circuit," Klinger said.
"It is a huge coup, not only for Washington Freedom and the partnership with Cricket NSW but more holistically for Major League Cricket and cricket in North America in general.
"Players want to play for Ricky. He has an incredible eye for talent and a skill in bringing the best out of those players. Ricky will work with some of our CNSW coaches and players who are part of the Washington Freedom set up, and we look forward to building on the foundations for success from the first edition of MLC."
Freedom owner Sanjay Govil believes the Australian legend's appointment will add to the wonderful foundation that was laid in its inaugural season. "Reflecting on the success of MLC's inaugural season and the aspiration to elevate cricket in the USA, we are poised to build upon the foundations laid last year," Govil said.
"Our journey saw us capture the imagination of the cricket-passionate local community, showcasing the burgeoning talent within the US and igniting a passion for the sport. As we look to the future, it's clear that our ambitions require a figure of unmatched stature and expertise.
"It is with immense pride and anticipation that we welcome Ricky Ponting as our head coach. Ricky's legendary status, characterized by his leadership, winning mindset, and commitment to nurturing talent, aligns perfectly with our goals. His understanding of our vision - to enhance the sport's profile in the US and to develop local talent - resonates with our mission."