Australia prepare for ‘pretty weird’ return without Matthew Mott


Ashleigh Gardner has played her entire international career under the guidance of Matthew Mott and admitted it will be “pretty weird” when he isn’t there after taking the white-ball role with the England men’s team.

Gardner reflected on the bond she – and the team – had built with Mott which during the last four years brought unprecedented success with back-to-back T20 World Cups, the ODI World Cup and Ashes triumphs.

“I know over the last five years that I’ve been involved in the team we’ve built a really good friendship and relationship so from a personal perspective it’s quite sad to see him go,” Gardner said on the day Australia’s Commonwealth Games squad was named. “It will be pretty weird him not being there.

“Albeit being a fantastic batting coach, it was just his personality around a group like ours [which] was something that we needed. Especially as female athletes, we can get caught up in minor details sometimes and he was someone who always brought things back into perspective and put a funny spin on things.

“For myself there was always that constant banter with him. I probably had a relationship that no other [player] had really had where we’d sledge each other constantly, but guess that was the trust we had built between each other.”

Mott went through the whole playing group to inform them of his career move with Gardner finding out over text message having missed the initial call. “It was kind of weird to read that,” she said. “I knew how much this group meant to him and how hard that would have been to make that decision.”

When the announcement was made, Mott said it came with a “heavy heart” but speaking on Friday, having spent the week coming to terms with the death of his close friend Andrew Symonds, he said it was the right moment. He applied for the men’s head coaching position earlier this year which went to Andrew McDonald.

“My time with the Australian team was always getting close. Been there seven years and it was only fair to look to move forward and give someone a new voice,” he told SEN.

“I think it’ll be a great experience for her to see whether she likes it as well,” Mott said. “She likes to fly under the radar a bit, Shelley, so I think it’s a good taster for her to see if she wants to do it. I think it will attract a great field where the team is at, the amount of men’s and women’s coaches that will look at that role and think they’d love to be a part of it. I’m sure there will be a process and I’m sure there will be some excellent candidates.”

“There are some amazing leaders in that group…so they are in really good hands and whoever gets that job will inherit a team functioning really well.”

Gardner, who as a fellow spinner has worked closely with Nitschke, said she was someone not afraid to challenge the players and she also expected bowling coach Ben Sawyer to put his name up for the position.

“[Ben’s] a coach that’s right into the analysis side of things,” she said. “He’s all about numbers and he’s a fantastic source to have for fast bowlers in our group.

“For Shell, from a spin perspective she’s obviously great to have around. She was so good back in her day…and she was a fantastic batter. She’s always up for a joke as well, but she’s also someone who keeps you pretty grounded and tells you sometimes what you don’t want to hear but [it’s] sometimes the truth you need as players.

“Either of them would fill the role perfectly but I know how much interest this job will get. We’ve been one of the most successful sides maybe in history, think that will attract some really good options. Whoever fills the role will be really excited to be among the group. But if it is Shelley or Ben I know none of us will be complaining.”

The Australia squad will come together in June for a training camp in Brisbane ahead of getting back on the road in July.


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