New interim coach Shelley Nitschke says she will likely pursue the top job for Australia’s all-conquering women’s cricket team long-term as she prepares to head up a crucial on-field transition period.
Nitschke admitted she was caught off guard last week when predecessor Matthew Mott told her he would leave the role after seven years to take up a job as England’s men’s white-ball coach.

Nitschke will be in charge for the Commonwealth Games and tri-series with Ireland and Pakistan, but players have backed the idea of her or fellow assistant Ben Sawyer being the full-time appointment.

The former international allrounder has spent the past four years as an assistant under Mott, and has also won a WBBL while in charge of Perth Scorchers.

“I am going to get a pretty good idea over the next couple of months if it’s something I want to do on a permanent basis,” Nitschke told AAP. “It will be a lot different to being an assistant, but I have experienced that at the Scorchers.

“I will take every day as it comes and see what it brings for me and whether I will throw my hat into the ring.

“I won’t be reinventing the wheel. It’s just following the processes we have been doing. I’ll put my own spin on it I’m sure, but that will happen organically.

Cricket Australia is expected to consider a full-time replacement in coming months, but if Nitschke does get the role she will preside over one of the most important periods of the women’s team.

After a dominant five-year stretch where the team has won every series it has played, change will inevitably come in or immediately after the next four-year cycle.

Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy are all now beyond 30 years of age, with the transition the most challenging Australian cricket has faced since Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Justin Langer and John Buchanan all left the men’s set-up at the same time.

But the women’s team is better placed, with the emergence of Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Annabel Sutherland and Sophie Molineux in recent years.

“There will be transition at some stage and it is important that you are ready for that with the right people to step in,” Nitschke said. “That, and making sure we have sustained success is important.

“We have sustained success at the moment but you want to build to beyond that and see how high you can go. We are flying so high at the moment, and you can’t stay there forever but you can be there or there about forever.”