(Australian Associated Press)
Ricky Ponting will help coach Australia’s Indian Premier League stars while they quarantine in Sydney, returning to the national team set-up fold for the first time since last year’s World Cup.
National selectors have named an 18-man squad for Australia’s six white-ball matches against India.
But quarantine restrictions mean the group won’t come together until November 27; the same date they start a much-anticipated ODI series against Virat Kohli’s side at the SCG.
Players already in Australia, such as Marnus Labuschagne, will prepare for that tour opener at training sessions overseen by national coach Justin Langer.
Ponting, Andrew McDonald and Sridharan Sriram are expected to be Langer’s right-hand men inside the hub, with the NSW government having signed off on exemptions that allow players to train among themselves while in quarantine.
The three coaches, who are currently in the UAE with their respective IPL franchises, will board next week’s charter flight alongside Australian and Indian players.
Ponting has worked as a consultant coach for Cricket Australia in the past, most notably during last year’s ODI World Cup.
The legend has provided more informal mentorship while commentating during recent years.
National captain Aaron Finch once joked that star-struck teammates, when sharing a field with Ponting, resembled “eight-year-old girls around Justin Bieber”.
Langer has repeatedly spruiked the value of having icons like Ponting and Steve Waugh on deck.
“Not only do they have a great presence in the group but they are great psychologists, they’ve been in the cauldron before,” Langer said last year.
“They’ve seen it all.
“To have our guys learn from people of that calibre is very important.”
Ponting coached Mumbai to an IPL title in 2015, while he is currently head coach of Delhi Capitals.
Delhi face Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore at 1am AEDT on Tuesday, with the winner to secure a top-two finish.
Pat Cummins snagged 4-34, including the scalp of Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith, in Kolkata Knight Riders’ final regular-season match to ensure his side remain in the mix for the playoffs.
Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Glenn Maxwell headline the list of Australians whose IPL campaigns have already finished.
But they won’t return home until the charter flight departs the UAE after the IPL final on November 11 (AEDT).