McDonald appointed new Renegades coach

11 August 2016

Leicestershire's Australian mentor to take on Big Bash gig in home state this summer

Former Australia Test player and current Leicestershire coach Andrew McDonald has been named coach of Melbourne Renegades, replacing David Saker.

There was strong speculation that McDonald was the man most likely to take on the role, with the Victoria head coach post also linked to the former Bushrangers and Aussie allrounder. 

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"I'm delighted to have been appointed head coach at the Melbourne Renegades and it's a role I'm very much looking forward to," McDonald said.

"The Big Bash League is extremely competitive and you do need some luck in this league but you create that as well.

"The smarter we play as a team and the more pressure we can put on our opposition, the more we'll find ourselves in winning positions."

The 35-year-old has impressed in his short stint at Leicestershire, and has a three-year contract that runs until the end of the 2017 season.

That deal is only for eight months each year, meaning his role with the Renegades can comfortably fit around the arrangement.

The perennial battlers are third in Division Two of the County Championship and are chasing promotion two years after McDonald was appointed following two seasons without a single win.

The former allrounder, who won four Test caps with Australia in 2008-09, is highly regarded within Victorian cricket and enjoyed a distinguished career in which he notched 3516 runs at an average of 40 while taking 163 wickets for the Bushrangers.

He also returns to the BBL club for whom he played the inaugural season of the tournament. 

"There's obviously the historical connection from the first season so it's really nice to be able to come back to Etihad Stadium as coach and work with Aaron Finch and the team to deliver the success that this team is built for," McDonald added.

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McDonald reportedly told Leicestershire CEO Wasim Khan recently there was interest from the Renegades.

"When you have a coach as good as Andrew, it is inevitable that other teams will be interested," Khan told ESPN last week.

"But as things stand, he tells me he has only been approached for a role with the T20 side. My reaction was, 'Great; good for you'."

Injuries forced an early end to McDonald's first-class career though he's continued to play in the KFC Big Bash League for the Sydney Thunder and was part of their BBL|05 title-winning squad.

McDonald in action for the Thunder // Getty
McDonald was part of the Thunder's BBL|05 winnings squad // Getty

His transition into coaching has been seamless and his achievements in his short tenure at Leicestershire have turned heads on the England domestic scene.

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The year before his arrival, the Foxes had not taken 20 wickets in any of their four-day games and had only managed to pick up full batting points in three out of 16 matches.

To make matters worse, at the conclusion of that 2014 northern summer they lost four of their best players – Josh Cobb, Shiv Thakor, Nathan Buck and Greg Smith – to other counties before the club announced a loss of almost A$450,000 at the end of the season.

But McDonald, along with Australian recruits Clint McKay and captain Mark Cosgrove, helped the side record their first four-day win in 992 days against Essex in the young coach's first season.

Now Leicestershire sit third in Division Two of the Championship and are pushing for promotion with five games to go in the season.

McDonald has made an easy transition to coaching // Getty
McDonald has made an easy transition to coaching // Getty

It's a record that Jason Gillespie, who currently holds coaching jobs with Yorkshire in England and the Adelaide Strikers in Australia, believes will hold him in good stead as he takes on a second coaching role between the two countries.

"For me, coaching in county cricket and in the Big Bash (simultaneously) has been a wonderful experience," Gillespie told cricket.com.au.

"It's been a wonderful experience and I'd highly recommend it to 'Ronnie' (McDonald).

"He's a fantastic coach who's still in the early stages of his coaching career.

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"I think an advantage for him has been being outside the Victorian cricket system for a couple of years now. Coaching them next season could have its challenges.

"That lure of going home is always going to be there.

"He's done a brilliant job for Leicestershire in the short time he's been here. The club can't speak highly enough of him and the word around the counties is that he's just an impressive man."

Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide said the state would not be rushed into a decision regarding the Bushrangers position.

"It's just a matter of doing good due diligence. It's an important decision for us," Dodemaide told reporters recently. "I think we have just to accept there is a lot of ... experienced coaches and some up-and-coming coaches as well."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith

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Melbourne Renegades BBL

Victorian Bushrangers

Andrew McDonald


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