Interim head coach remains favourite to take over Australia men’s coaching job full-time after 1-0 Test series win in Pakistan
“Fantastic,” Cummins said of McDonald after the win in Lahore. “Not unexpected. He’s a great operator. The boys absolutely love him. Very diligent, very thorough, strategic, very organized. He’s a huge part of this tour win.”
“His preparation, and all the support staff’s. It’s not just the 11 players who walk out; we’ve got a squad of 30-odd people who have been working so hard this month, and it’s also important. I’ve said before it’s not my place to employ the coach, but Ronnie [McDonald] has been fantastic.”
Australia exuded a sense of calm and patience throughout a long series, and rarely got flustered despite the pitches offering precious little to the bowlers for large periods even when they were in dominant positions on the final days in both Karachi and Lahore.
The team had held firm to the plan throughout the series not to chase the game or try and force the issue with the ball, but rather to be patient and keep the scoreboard under control and wait for an opportunity when a hint of a reverse swing or a batting mistake opened the door.
It was a triumph of planning and execution that saw Australia claim their first away Test series victory since 2016, and their first Test series win in Asia since 2011.
“Andrew McDonald and myself have been saying that a lot – it’s a 15-day Test match,” Cummins said. “I didn’t expect it to go right down to the last session on the 15th day. I think it’s one of those ones where you want to try and speed up the game. You want to try to create things and make things happen. But if there’s nothing in the pitch, [and] if the ball is soft, you can’t just make things out of thin air.
“So you’ve got to take your medicine at times and I think we saw that in the first Test match. Absolutely you’d love to push for a result every Test match, but it’s sometimes just not possible. So I thought the way we stuck at it, we were attritional for the whole series and walked away last week still with our heads up high, confident for this week. Just really proud of the group.”
McDonald has been the warm favourite to take over the role full-time, and it is unlikely the head coaching role will be split into two with the chosen candidate likely to be the coach of all three formats. But there may be stronger structures in place to help manage the head coach’s workload; however, what that structure will look like could depend on the candidate chosen.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo