Shelley Nitschke has been appointed Australia’s women’s cricket team head coach, charged with leading the next generation after being handed a four-year deal.
Nitschke was told this week that she would replace former mentor Matthew Mott in a full-time capacity, after serving as interim leader since his exit in May.
In the time since, Nitschke has guided Australia to Commonwealth Games gold and every single trophy available to them now sits in their cabinet.
The period has also included the ushering in of two new assistants, with Ben Sawyer also leaving to take up a role in New Zealand.
But Nitschke has long been aware she faces an era of transition not seen since Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and John Buchanan all left the men’s set-up at the same time.
Selecting a new leader will be among her first jobs, with vice-captain Rachael Haynes retiring last week and skipper Meg Lanning on indefinite personal leave.
The likes of Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry are also both beyond the age of 30, while Australia enter an era of solely defending titles rather than building towards regaining them.
“I’m honoured to have been given this opportunity to lead the team full-time and to continue to build on the legacy created by Matthew Mott,” Nitschke said on Tuesday.
“While I enjoyed my time working as assistant coach, I feel the time is right to step up and lead this group in what’s shaping as a new era with a new-look coaching group and the retirement of Rachael Haynes.
“The loss of Rach will no doubt be felt, but it presents a great opportunity for others to put their hands up both from a leadership perspective as well as with the bat and in the field.”
Nitschke played 122 matches for Australia across all three formats between 2005 and 2011, taking 153 wickets as a finger-spinner and scoring more than 3000 runs.
She then transitioned into coaching in South Australia, before taking on an assistant role under Mott in the national set up in 2018 and later coaching the Perth Scorchers.
“We’re delighted to appoint Shelley as head coach of our world champion women’s team,” high performance manager Ben Oliver said.
“She did an outstanding job in an interim capacity during the Commonwealth Games and was the clear stand-out candidate in the recruitment process. Shelley is an incredibly well-respected coach with a proven track record.”