Former Australian test cricketer Andrew McDonald has been named the new head coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) side Rajasthan Royals, joining them on a three year contract. He replaces the South African Paddy Upton, who was only appointed at the start of last season.
The Royals won the IPL in its inaugural season in 2008, but have had a chequered history since. On the field, they have struggled to match that level of performance, and have only made the play-offs three times, with a best performance of third in 2013.
In July 2015, a panel appointed by India’s Supreme Court suspended both the Royals and the Chennai Super Kings from the IPL over an illegal betting scandal dating back to 2013. They returned to the league in 2018 but, this season, they could only finish seventh out of the eighth teams taking part, despite a roster that included players like Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, and Jofra Archer.
Now they are hoping that McDonald may be the man to bring success to the team based in Jaipur.
McDonald was an all-rounder who made four teat appearances for Australia in 2009 playing both home and away against South Africa. He played Sheffield Shield cricket in Australia with Victoria and then South Australia, and had one season in England, playing County Cricket with Leicestershire. He also played in the IPL for the Delhi Daredevils between 2009 and 2011, and for the Royal Challengers Bangalore for the two seasons that followed that.
The 38 year old began his coaching career back with Victoria, and enjoyed immediate success, helping them win the Sheffield Shield in his first year as coach. He also helped turn round the fortunes of the Melbourne Renegades – seventh in the 2017 – 2018 season, they won the Big Bash title this year. He has also had some coaching experience in the IPL already, working with Virat Kohli as bowling coach to the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
McDonald intends to visit India shortly to meet the Royals team both on and off the pitch, and will spend part of his time before the new IPL season starts, meeting with coaches from other sports to learn from their experience, and gather examples of best practice.
The 2020 IPL is most likely to get underway on April 1st next year, and will last through until May 30th. The players’ auction for the next edition of the tournament will take place in Kolkata on December 19th.