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September 22, 2011
Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, hopes he will have some input into who replaces Tim Nielsen as the team's coach. Clarke arrived back home in Sydney on Wednesday night after leading Australia to a 1-0 Test series victory in Sri Lanka, where Nielsen finished the tour by announcing his decision to step down from the coaching role.
That means Australia will have an interim coach for next month's tour of South Africa - probably one of the assistants, Steve Rixon or Justin Langer - while the search goes on for a full-time replacement. Clarke is believed to have a very high regard for his former New South Wales coach, Rixon, and while he did not name any preferred names, he said he hoped his opinions would be considered as Cricket Australia looked for their new man.
"I hope I will [have some input]," Clarke said. "I have a really good relationship with James Sutherland, the CEO, and I'm pretty sure it is important the captain and coach have a strong bond. I would imagine I would have some sort of impact and I'll be communicating with James over however long, to try and work out who they think the best person for the role is.
"There's a lot of successful coaches around the world, and I think the priority, as the review has made very clear, is they are going to try and get the best person for the job. I think Tim Nielsen has done an amazing job for Australia. He's been fantastic for me, not only as a captain, but as a player and he's certainly going to be missed."
Leading candidates to replace Nielsen will include Rixon, who has a successful track record having coached New Zealand as well as New South Wales, and Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa mentor. Arthur is preparing for his second season as coach of Western Australia.
Nielsen's resignation came after the release of the Argus review, which recommended a more wide-ranging brief for the head coach. Whoever gets the new job will not only guide the national team, he will also direct the coaching style that will filter down to state and academy level, and with Clarke will be one of Australia's five-man selection panel.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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