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

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  • Simon on February 2, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    Sensible, logical, practical, no frills! Good stuff Boof. The on field response to McDermott and Young has been measurably noticeable. Keeping that as short term bursts, in conjunction with the players own long term mentors shows Lehmann knows a million clipboarders trying to find something to do 'of value' will not benefit our elite teams. The example of Warne / Jenner has been well documented and Boof has recognised that elite players still have personal coaches who know the individual tweaks needed. Not to mention the fact these guys are highly paid and can afford their own technicians. Having a catch all coach trying to make individuals fit into a one size fits all regime is not necessary at that level. The main overseer - Lehmann - is the one who pulls all the parts into one game plan and our elite cricket team couldn't be in more sensible winning focused hands.

  • John on January 30, 2014, 5:48 GMT

    Wow did I get that wrong. My interpretation in this mornings paper was there was not hard feelings. Well spoken Mr Rixon. Lets not forget if not for the effort of our team this summer Howard and Sutherland would be queueing up at Centrelink.

  • John on January 30, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    Having read our local media this morning, the impression was that Steve Rixon was relieved three months earlier than his contract terminating and there was no ill feeling about the early termination in any case. I suppose negative captions sell better. Good luck with your future Steve and the Tooheys ads were sensational.

  • David on January 30, 2014, 0:42 GMT

    Has Lehmann gone to South Africa with the Test team or is he coaching the T20 team? I thought an assistant coach would be necessary to cover situations like this.

  • Dummy4 on January 29, 2014, 23:26 GMT

    Please get rid of Michael Clarke next. Don't care if we're winning, I'd rather lose and have someone else as captain. Just get rid of him... now.

  • Peter on January 29, 2014, 22:30 GMT

    John Inverarity is one of four selectors. A panel which includes one Darren Lehmann. The head of a selection panel that has chosen the likes of Nathan Lyon, a 26 year old offie picked from the blue, who now has over 100 wickets. A player that Darren Lehmann didn't even want to play the first test back in July last year. A panel that selected a 36 year old veteran to open the batting, one who had the highest run tally over these recent mega-Ashes. A panel that also picked Mitchell Johnson to bowl in the current Ashes to the derision of many.

    Australia won the Ashes 5-0, the ODI series 4-1.

    Yes of course he needs to be sacked.

  • David on January 29, 2014, 20:06 GMT

    Good. Put a broom through the place. The most important and urgent replacement is the Chairman of Selectors.

  • Karl on January 29, 2014, 18:37 GMT

    Rixon who was a keeper now a spin bowling coach ahh another funny selection by John Inverarity!!

  • Bryn on January 29, 2014, 10:23 GMT

    as great a coach as rixon is this is a good move. the hiring of absolute specialists and experts in all facets is a no brainer. and its not a bad thing for rixon as well, the next national team in search for a coach will be showing him the money. the BCCI would be crazy not to employ immediately as a fielding/assistant coach. I would be going after him hard if I were the ECB as well.

  • Philip on January 29, 2014, 10:16 GMT

    Could have kept Rixon on as specialist keeping coach. Haddin no longer needs one, having thankfully cleared his head following his family troubles, but Wade might and he's still in the mix, it seems, although one sometimes wonders why.

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