Australia news January 29, 2014

Rixon axed from Australia's support staff

Australia are increasingly becoming a team bound to the singular vision of the coach Darren Lehmann, after it was announced that the senior assistant coach Steve Rixon had been jettisoned from the support staff of the national side.

Rixon, who had been employed as fielding, spin bowling and assistant coach at various times in a role he began in 2011, and also deputised for Lehmann on the ODI tour of India last year, took his last sessions with the team around the Sydney ODI that preceded the Allan Border Medal presentation and did not fly to South Africa on Wednesday.

Lehmann couched Rixon's exit as part of a move away from catch-all assistant coaches to specialist consultants in various disciplines, from the appointment of Mike Young on a short-term contract to the use of Shane Warne to mentor the team's spinners before the World Twenty20 to be played in Bangladesh after the South Africa tour.

"I've taken the opportunity to look at our current coaching structure and the levels of support I feel we need moving into the future," Lehmann said. "I've mentioned previously that I believe our players can really benefit from more dedicated skill-based training, which means more regular support from technical experts to help work on specific areas of performance.

"This will see various coaches and experts in their field working with the team as and when it is needed. In recent times that's included people like Mike Young to work on fielding while Shane Warne is going to work with our spinners in a short-term capacity ahead of the ICC World Twenty 20.

"These changes to how we support our players means it is no longer necessary to have a full-time assistant coach travelling with the team. Steve has made an outstanding contribution to Australian cricket over a long period of time and played an important role with the national team since 2011."

Though he mentored the India touring team capably, in keeping with a long career where he has coached with great success with New South Wales, New Zealand and the Chennai Super Kings among others, Rixon's place in the Australian set-up looked uncertain from the moment Young was called back to improve the team's ground fielding ahead of the Ashes.

He will be missed by several of the team's NSW representatives in particular, as the captain Michael Clarke and his deputy Brad Haddin have each developed close relationships with Rixon at state and national levels. However, the spinner Nathan Lyon did not enjoy quite so successful a union when the former coach Mickey Arthur appointed Rixon to oversee slow bowling, ultimately preferring the counsel of John Davison.

Over his first seven months in the job, Lehmann has gradually assembled his chosen coaching team, recalling Craig McDermott to work with the pace bowlers while also appointing his former Queensland colleague Damian Mednis as the team's strength and conditioning coach instead of the Victorian David Bailey.

Rixon was a candidate for the role of Sri Lanka coach last year, but ended negotiations when he concluded that the island nation's salary package was insufficient. He remains under the employment of the Chennai Super Kings, enjoying a fruitful partnership with the former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here