Triple World Cup winner Ricky Ponting will join Australia’s coaching staff for the tournament in England this year, with batting coach Graeme Hick to focus instead on Australia's Ashes campaign.
Cricket Australia announced today that Ponting will work alongside coach Justin Langer at the World Cup in June and July, when Australia will look to win a sixth title.
The news comes a day after David Saker resigned as Australia’s fast-bowling coach, effective immediately.
In a statement, Cricket Australia said Ponting's appointment is part of "changes to the coaching structure (that) will see him focus on working closely with the ODI batting group".
“This appointment also provides an opportunity for Graeme Hick to focus on preparation for the Ashes,” said interim High Performance Executive General Manager Belinda Clark.
“With two major events back to back we believe it is important to focus a number of staff specifically on one event. The appointment of Ricky is a part of this overall strategy.
“Ricky will assist Justin across a number of key areas including strategy and game-plan, but he will also work closely with and mentor the batting group as they prepare for the English conditions."
Ponting is a close ally of Langer's and worked alongside him in the UK last year for Langer’s first tour after taking over as head coach.
The 44-year-old had previously worked as an assistant with Australia’s T20 side in early 2018 and 2017.
Ponting captained Australia in their unbeaten Cup campaigns in 2003 and 2007 and was also part of the side that won the 1999 title, the last time the tournament was held in the UK.
“Ricky knows what’s required to win World Cups, and I know he will be a valuable mentor to not just the batting group, but the broader squad as we focus our attention on defending our World Cup title,” Langer said in a statement.
Australia's World Cup squad will be finalised in late April, with the tournament expected to be the first in the national side for banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner since they were suspended last year.
The Aussies will hold a pre-tournament camp in Brisbane in early May before their tournament opener against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1.
Ponting will coach the newly renamed Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League in April and May before joining Australia’s squad.
Speaking to cricket.com.au last year, Ponting said he felt the urge to get back into a competitive environment again after taking a break following his retirement from the game in 2012.
“I’ve lived my life as a competitive person for so long, competing as a batsman, competing as a player and when your career’s over that all stops and you’ve got none of that in your life anymore,” he said.
“In the last couple of years, I’ve started to feel and understand that I need to have a certain degree of that in my life, let alone the fact that I love helping young blokes out.
“At the end of the day that’s what coaching is for me; having the feeling that you’ve actually improved someone and had an impact on the way they go about their cricket.
“And you’ve made them better as a cricketer and a person.
“I think that should be the motivating factor for all coaches anyway.”
Saker's resignation on Thursday means several high-profile positions are set to be filled this year; in addition to the vacant role of bowling coach, selector Greg Chappell will step down after the Ashes, while the EGM of High Performance role will also be filled.
Clark was appointed to that role on an interim basis in place of Pat Howard late last year and she will return to her role as EGM of Community Cricket when the High Performance role is filled.
Australia's World Cup fixtures
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE