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Shelley Nitschke keen on full-time Australia women’s role

New interim coach Shelley Nitschke says she will likely pursue the top job for the all-conquering Australian cricket team for the long term as she prepares for a crucial transition period on the pitch.
Nitschke admitted she was taken aback last week when pastor Matthew Mott told her he would be leaving the role after seven years to take a job as England’s white-ball coach.

Nitschke will be in charge of the Commonwealth Games and tri-series with Ireland and Pakistan, but players have supported the idea that she or fellow assistant Ben Sawyer would be the full-time hire.

The former international all-rounder has spent the past four years as an assistant under Mott and also won a WBBL while in charge of Perth Scorchers.

“I’m going to get a pretty good idea over the next few months if it’s something I want to do permanently,” Nitschke told AAP. “It will be very different from being an assistant, but that’s what I experienced with the Scorchers.

“I will take each day as it comes and see what it brings me and if I throw my hat in the ring.

“I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. It’s just following the processes we’ve done. I’ll definitely put my own spin on it, but it will happen organically.

Cricket Australia is expected to consider a full-time replacement in the coming months, but if Nitschke lands the role, she will chair one of the women’s squad’s key spells.

After a dominant five-year period where the team has won every series it has played, there will inevitably be change in or immediately after the next four-year cycle.

Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy are all now over 30, with the transition being the most challenging Australian cricket has experienced since Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and John Buchanan all left the men’s lineup at the same time.

But the women’s team is in better shape, with the emergence of Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Annabel Sutherland and Sophie Molineux in recent years.

“There will be a transition at some point and it’s important that you’re ready for that with the right people to intervene,” Nitschke said. “That, and making sure we have continued success, is important.

“We’ve had success at the moment, but you want to build further and see how high you can go. We’re flying so high right now and you can’t stay there forever, but you can be there or there forever.”

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