Nielsen wins two-year contract extension
There might be doubts over a number of spots in the Australian set-up, but the coach Tim Nielsen is not one of them after having his contract extended by two years. Nielsen replaced John Buchanan last year and was originally signed until the end of the 2009 Ashes.
Matthew Hayden and Brett Lee have been out of form since the India series and there has been no sign of a long-term spinner emerging, but Cricket Australia is looking for stability and Nielsen will be in charge until the 2011 World Cup. Since Nielsen, 40, has been in charge he has overseen eight Test wins, four draws and four losses. However, in the past year that has included the loss of the CB Series, a 2-0 defeat in India and the record-breaking result for South Africa in Perth on Sunday.
"We continue to be impressed by the way he goes about his job," James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, said. "We're obviously delighted that Tim's going to be with us for this extended period and we know that players and administrators have great confidence in his ability."
Nielsen has admitted he has a tough three years ahead, what with Australia in transition after the retirement of some legends and a few ageing players. "There will be change. We've seen that over the last 12 months or so," Nielsen said. "Everyone keeps reminding us that [Justin] Langer, [Shane] Warne, [Glenn] McGrath, [Damien] Martyn, [Adam] Gilchrist and [Brad] Hogg have moved on. We haven't lost every Test we've played. We've been competitive more often than not. We've seen some young kids come into the group.
"When I accepted the job last year, one of the things which drew me to the role was working with the young kids and trying to help them to come through and have an impact. We've seen the Mitchell Johnsons of the world do that over the last 12 months. It doesn't happen overnight."
Apart from Michael Clarke, all of Australia's Test batsmen are 33 or older with Hayden struggling at 37, while the fast bowlers Lee and Stuart Clark are 32 and 33 respectively.
"A lot of the older guys have still got relatively young bodies and it's a different game to the 1980s and 1990s when I played," Nielsen said. "Being in the 30s now, with the support you get around the team these days you can play until you're 37 or 38 so I expect some of them will play two, three or four more years yet."