McDonald has coached Australia on several tours during Langer’s four-year tenure while the former coach rested, including an ODI series in India in 2020, a five-match T20I tour of New Zealand in 2021, and a five-match home T20I series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
“The journey so far has been particularly pleasing, and I am honoured to be given this incredible opportunity for what is an exciting period ahead,” McDonald said.
“The success of the World Cup, the Ashes Series and now Pakistan has been testament to the hard work and leadership of Justin, Pat and Aaron [Finch] along with the players and the support staff.
“My plan is to build on the growth, depth and experience of the squad while working collectively with the group and across the game. There are many challenges in the short-term which I know excites the leadership group, the players and the staff. I’d also like to thank my family for their support.”
CA did conduct a global search for a new men’s coach following the departure of Langer via a recruitment firm and sounded out a number of potential candidates including former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, former England coach Trevor Bayliss and current Australia women’s coach Matthew Mott. But McDonald’s popularity with the playing group and the team’s recent results made him an obvious choice, as CA general manager of high performance Ben Oliver confirmed.
“Andrew was the standout candidate in a high-quality field of coaches,” Oliver said. “And we believe he’s the best person to help continue the growth of the team over the coming years.”
McDonald has vast coaching experience having coached Victoria and Melbourne Renegades to four Australian domestic titles, including completing the Sheffield Shield, Marsh Cup and BBL treble in the same season in 2018-19. He has also been head coach of Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and was hired as head coach of Birmingham Phoenix for the inaugural Hundred but was unable to coach in person due to Australia commitments.
CA did not want to split the men’s job along format lines with McDonald to be the head coach of all three formats. McDonald himself was keen to be the coach of all three formats however that was not raised in discussions with CA until he became the preferred candidate.
But given Australia’s heavy touring schedule over the next 18 months including an away Test tour of Sri Lanka, a home T20 World Cup, home Test series against West Indies and South Africa, an away Test series against India, a possible World Test Championship final, an away Ashes and a 50-over World Cup in India, McDonald wanted a coaching structure that allows for him and his assistants to be rested for certain periods.
Under such a scenario a senior assistant could well take charge of certain tours or sections of tours that are viewed as lower priority series during that time, and consultants may be used more frequently as was seen when former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori joined Australia’s limited-overs squad in Pakistan as a spin consultant in the absence of Sridharan Sriram.
“Once it was decided that I was a preferred candidate then I got an opportunity to sit down with Cricket Australia and the people around that to shape and formulate role,” McDonald said. “But it was a huge part of it. No doubt about it.
“I think the great challenge for coaches and players is to manage your workload across the four years, being my term at the moment. But I’d like to think that I’ve got coaching staff around that can step up. We can elevate certain coaches at different times to take on different tours and different challenges and whilst we’re doing that it’s growing the depth of our coaching staff.”
McDonald already has Michael Di Venuto, Jeff Vaughan and Sri Sriram in place as batting, fielding and bowling coaches respectively, and praised Langer for making those appointments during his tenure. McDonald seconded Andre Borovec on the tour of Pakistan as an interim assistant with expertise in strategy. But he will need a full-time bowling coach to replace his own role within the coaching structure.
McDonald will sit on the three-man selection panel alongside chairman George Bailey and third selector Tony Dodemaide for all three formats.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo