Cricket NSW: Cricket great Ricky Ponting appointed head coach of Washington Freedom

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Photo Credit: Cricket NSW

All-time cricketing great Ricky Ponting has today been unveiled as the new head coach of Cricket NSW partner, Washington Freedom, ahead of the second season of Major League Cricket (MLC) in the United States.

Ponting is considered by many to be one of world’s greatest ever players and is now one of the most sought-after off-field properties on the global T20 circuit.

He currently coaches the Indian Premier League’s Delhi Capitals and has previously filled roles in cricket’s short form with the Mumbai Indians and the Australian Men’s team.

In a full-circle moment, Ponting will replace his longtime mentor and former coach, Greg Shipperd, at the Washington D.C based MLC franchise, on a two-year deal. Shipperd has stepped down from the role with the Freedom to focus his attentions on Cricket NSW’s Blues and the Sydney Sixers in the Australian domestic competitions.

Ponting paid tribute to Shipperd and the work that Cricket NSW had done with Washington Freedom.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining the Washington Freedom in 2024,” Ponting said.

“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.”

Washington Freedom owner Sanjay Govil said Ponting’s appointment would continue the positive evolution of Major League Cricket and complement the fledgling league’s ‘mission’.

“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.

“Ricky’s appointment is a pivotal step in our quest to not just participate in the MLC but to redefine it, offering unparalleled cricket experiences to our fans and creating a legacy of excellence in American cricket.”

Michael Klinger, the CNSW Head of Male T20 Cricket and General Manager of Cricket at Washington Freedom, said Ponting’s signing would have a significant impact on the organisation and cricket in the USA.

“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.

“We are excited at the opportunities this appointment will bring both Cricket NSW and Washington Freedom.

“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.”

Cricket NSW is the high-performance partner of Washington Freedom and is responsible for building a high performance environment including player contracting and management, implementing a top-class coaching team and other high-performance roles, including sports science and sports medicine, performance analysis and team operations.

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