BBL news – Justin Langer looks at ‘other opportunities’ despite Ricky Ponting’s pursuit for Hurricanes job

Justin Langer won’t return to coaching in the near term after deciding to take up “other opportunities” despite Ricky Ponting pursuing him vigorously for the Hobart Hurricanes’ head coaching role.

Hurricanes announced Jeff Vaughan as their new head coach on Friday and he will combine the job with his role as Tasmania head coach. Vaughan is Ponting’s first appointment in his new role as Hurricanes’ head of strategy. Ponting also appointed James Hopes and Darren Berry as assistants alongside Vaughan.

But Ponting was candid in explaining that his close friend Langer had been his first choice. The pair had discussed the role at length and Langer had shown interest early in the process before other opportunities piqued his interest.

“I’m on record saying that I’ve spoken with Justin quite a bit about coming down here and being the head coach of the Hurricanes and he was quite keen,” Ponting said. “The initial conversations were pretty exciting. And he would like to get back involved again. But as things got progressed and things got a little bit closer, I think he’s had some other opportunities and exciting things maybe come across his desk that he thinks he might be able to enjoy a little bit more through the course of the summer.

“I’m sure you’ll find out about some of those things over the next little period of time. But as soon as he [took] himself out of the running, it was really obvious to me who the next guy had to be and that’s the guy that we’ve appointed as head coach in Jeff. I’m not hiding from the fact that I spoke to him [Langer]. I spoke to him a lot about it and I think everyone, probably around Australian cricket circles knew that I was trying to get him down here for the Hurricanes but it wasn’t to be.”

Langer has remained in Perth since his messy departure from the Australia men’s coaching job in February. He has been doing a lot of corporate speaking as well as fulfilling his duties as a board member for the West Coast Eagles, an Australian Football League club.

When Ponting first flagged Langer’s name as his number one candidate for the Hurricanes job back in June, it was met with a lukewarm reception from Hurricanes’ veteran Matthew Wade when he was asked about Langer’s style.

Vaughan’s appointment is likely to be a popular one. He has vast experience having been with Tasmania and Hurricanes previously as an assistant under former coach Adam Griffith. He left both in 2021 to join the Australia men’s coaching team under Langer for the T20 World Cup and the Ashes, but returned to take the Tasmania job earlier this year just prior to Andrew McDonald taking over as Australia’s head coach.

“Everyone that I’ve spoken to around Tasmanian cricket or around the Australian cricket team just had glowing reports about Jeff with his coaching ability and his coaching style and his people management,” Ponting said. “I think that’s exactly what the Hurricanes need right now.”

Hobart Hurricanes coaching team (left to right), James Hopes (assistant), Ricky Ponting (head of strategy), Jeff Vaughan (head coach) and Darren Berry (assistant)Cricket Tasmania

Combining the Tasmania men’s domestic program with Hurricanes’ BBL team under one coach is a model that has worked successfully in Western Australia under both Langer and Adam Voges and is currently employed in South Australia and Queensland.

But the addition of Hopes and Berry adds significant global franchise experience to Hurricanes. Hopes has been an assistant under Ponting in the IPL at Delhi Capitals while Berry has previously coached Adelaide Strikers in the BBL and coached South Australia to a T20 title in the old Big Bash competition. Berry has been an assistant coach at title-winning teams in the IPL and PSL and also works in the Hundred.

“With Jeff being the head coach of the Tigers and what I felt the Hurricanes needed right here and right now it just seemed like the perfect fit for him to be in charge of both programs,” Ponting said. “But in saying that was also really important to me that I got high-quality experienced assistant coaches underneath Jeff to make sure that when Jeff is away with the Tigers that the Hurricanes program is actually in as good a shape as possible by the time he joins, which will be probably two weeks before the first game.”

In other coaching news, Griffith has joined Victoria as their men’s bowling coach under head coach Chris Rogers. Victoria have also appointed Ben Rohrer as their new batting coach to take over from Andre Borovec, who has joined the Australia men’s team as an assistant coach in the role Vaughan vacated.

Former Victoria and Australia batter Cameron White has departed Adelaide Strikers to join Sydney Sixers as an assistant coach under Greg Shipperd.