Ben Sawyer had been in the running for the head coaching job with the Aussie women’s cricket team before New Zealand made its move.
Ben Sawyer has turned his back on the possibility of coaching the Aussie women’s cricket team, instead following Matthew Mott out the door and joining bitter rivals New Zealand as head coach.
The bowling coach of the champion Aussie side, Sawyer had been linked to the New Zealand women’s coaching job since last month, but New Zealand Cricket only confirmed his appointment on Monday morning.
His departure comes just weeks after Australian women’s head coach Mott quit in order to become white-ball coach of the English men’s team.
Watch Australia’s Tour of Sri Lanka. Every T20, ODI and Test Match Live & On-Demand on Kayo. First T20 Starts 7th Jun 11:30PM AEST. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
In response to Sawyer’s departure, Cricket Australia has appointed two new women’s assistant coaches: Jude Coleman and Dan Marsh.
The pair will assist interim coach Shelley Nitschke in the upcoming tri-series in Northern Ireland and at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
At the Games, she’ll go head-to-head with her former colleague Sawyer, who said he looked forward to working with the White Ferns.
“I can’t wait to get stuck in,” said Sawyer, who has already arrived in New Zealand and begun his two-year contract.
“I see a lot of potential in this White Ferns group and I feel really optimistic about helping to untap that potential so they can take their cricket to the next level.
“It’s certainly going to be a learning process as I get to know the players and they get to know me and my cricket philosophies and coaching style.”
Sawyer joined the Aussie women’s side as fast-bowling coach in 2018 and most recently was part of Australia’s Ashes and ODI World Cup wins. He has also coached the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL.
Sawyer’s move to New Zealand has shut the door on speculation he was in the running for the top job with the Australian team.
After Mott resigned as head coach last month, his two assistants Sawyer and Nitschke were endorsed by players as possible successors.
Nitschke has previously been coy on her coaching aspirations beyond the Commonwealth Games.
Cricket Australia won’t begin the selection process until after the Games, but now that Sawyer has left, there’ll be one less option internally.
Cricket Australia’s executive general manager of high performance and national teams Ben Oliver congratulated Sawyer on his new role.
“We’re excited for Ben and this new opportunity,” he said.
“He’s been a key part of the success of our world champion women’s team over a number of years and is ready for the challenge of leading an international program.
“We understand Ben accepting this opportunity and wish him and his family all the best.”
Oliver threw his support behind Coleman and Marsh as the side’s new assistant coaches.
Coleman is the head coach of the South Australian Scorpions and the Adelaide Strikers WBBL side, while Marsh coaches the Tasmanian women’s team.
Both have also worked with the women’s Australia A side – Coleman as head coach and Marsh as her assistant.
“It’s great to have coaches of such high calibre in the Australian system who we can call upon like we have with Jude and Dan,” Oliver said.