Rixon to coach Australia for UAE ODIs
Steve Rixon, Australia's fielding mentor, will take over as head coach for the one-day internationals against Afghanistan and Pakistan in the UAE to allow Mickey Arthur to focus on preparations for the World ICC Twenty20. Arthur will return to head coaching duties for the T20 leg of the UAE trip, which is followed closely by the world tournament in Sri Lanka.
It won't be the first time in recent years that Australia have left their head coach at home - Tim Nielsen took a break during the ODIs in England that followed the 2009 Ashes loss and his assistant Troy Cooley was placed in charge. However, this year's move has more to do with the wider role of the head coach following the Argus review than allowing Arthur time off.
"Part of the broader scope of the new Australian team head coach role since the Australian team performance review was conducted was to have a wider view over the team's plans and how we prepare and we have a very important T20 tournament coming up," Arthur said. "I'll spend the time away from the team to really hone our T20 plans and study the opposition ahead of the ICC World Twenty20.
"We have great experience and harmony within our support staff group now and I know that Steve will do a terrific job in partnership with Justin Langer and Ali de Winter while I'm away."
Rixon is no stranger to handling an international side, having been head coach of New Zealand from 1996 to 1999. He will be in charge for four matches and will act as a selector during the ODIs, as Arthur does when he is in command.
"Of course you look forward to opportunities like this; it's not every day you get to coach the Australian cricket team and I'm looking forward to that extra responsibility and working with Michael Clarke," Rixon said. "In saying that, my job will be to simply carry on with all the good work and planning that has been done in recent times and hopefully hand back over to Mickey after four good wins."
The Australians fly out for the UAE on Tuesday and their tour begins with a one-off ODI against Afghanistan on Saturday. That is followed by three one-dayers and three T20s against Pakistan.