County news January 9, 2004

Surrey close in on Steve Rixon

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Steve Rixon: heading for The Oval?
© Getty Images

Steve Rixon has emerged as the favourite to fill the vacancy left by Keith Medlycott as coach of Surrey.

Rixon, 49, who played 13 Tests for Australia between 1977 and 1985, is a highly-rated coach who has had successful spells with New South Wales and New Zealand. It is believed that Surrey's original approach was rebuffed but that financial details are all that now remain to be agreed.

Earlier this month Surrey admitted that their shortlist of ten had been reduced to five.

Rixon's contract with New South Wales expires at the end of the Australian season in March and Dave Gilbert, another former favourite at The Oval and now chief executive of New South Wales, told the Surrey Advertiser that he would be sorry to lose him if the deal goes through.

"Steve is a proven performer at first-class and international level and his record here has been outstanding," Gilbert said. "He's not afraid to make key decisions and is an uncompromising character. It's possible that he is looking for a new challenge. Nothing lasts for ever and fresh opportunities will always come along."

Surrey also confirmed that Geoff Arnold will return as their full-time bowling coach. Arnold took 745 wickets for Surrey in 218 appearances between 1963 and 1977. He has been a bowling consultant at The Oval since 2001.