Aussie cricket great Ricky Ponting to coach Washington Freedom in Major League Cricket T20 competition

  • Ricky Ponting is new head coach of the Washington Freedom
  • T20 competition in the USA starts on July 4 – just after T20 World Cup
  • Ponting (49) believes cricket as a sport is ‘on the rise’ in America

Major League Cricket (MLC) has made the most prominent signing of its short history with Ricky Ponting joining the Washington Freedom as their head coach.

The former Australian captain has signed a two-year deal and will succeed Greg Shipperd for the second season of the Twenty20 competition in the USA, which begins on July 4.

Shipperd, 67, stepped down to focus on his duties as coach of the Sydney Sixers and the men’s state teams at Cricket NSW – the Freedom’s high performance partner.

Currently coach of the Indian Premier League’s Delhi Capitals and a popular media pundit, Ponting confirmed last week that he was in talks to join Washington, but he has to work through logistics.

He was announced as head coach AEDT on Wednesday morning.

Major League Cricket (MLC) has made the most prominent signing of its short history with Ricky Ponting joining the Washington Freedom as head coach

Major League Cricket (MLC) has made the most prominent signing of its short history with Ricky Ponting joining the Washington Freedom as head coach

The former Australian captain has signed a two-year deal ahead of the second season of the Twenty20 competition in the US, which begins on July 4.

The former Australian captain has signed a two-year deal ahead of the second season of the Twenty20 competition in the US, which begins on July 4.

“Cricket is really on the rise in the US,” Ponting said.

“I’m impressed with everyone involved with Washington Freedom and while it’s a little surreal to replace my partner Greg Shipperd, there’s probably no one better to build a successful franchise.

“I’m ready to build on his work as we look to the upcoming season.”

Ponting previously coached the IPL’s Mumbai Indians and has worked in the Australian set-up, most recently as an assistant to former head coach Justin Langer.

He takes the reins of a Washington team that finished third on the ladder in the inaugural MLC last year, but was eliminated in the playoffs by eventual champion MI New York.

Adam Zampa, Moises Henriques and Aaron Finch were among the Australians who played in the inaugural season, where four of six teams received significant financial backing from IPL franchises.

Steve Smith and Travis Head are likely to feature this season, possibly for Ponting’s Washington Freedom side.

The second MLC season also begins just days after the T20 World Cup finals, which will be held across the US and Caribbean in June.