Sri Lanka cricket November 20, 2013

'Pay for SL job embarrassing' - Rixon


Steve Rixon, Australia's assistant coach, has said the remuneration Sri Lanka Cricket offered when they approached him for the job of the national team's coach was "embarrassing", considering the position.

Though he had not formally applied, Rixon was among the men the board approached after they were underwhelmed by the 11 applications they had received for the role. Rixon is highly rated internationally and within the Sri Lanka team, having coached New Zealand as well as domestic teams in Australia and teams in the Indian Cricket League and the Indian Premier League.

Former international coaches Greg Chappell and Tim Nielsen were also approached by SLC but, like Rixon, had declined.

"Sri Lanka Cricket sent me a contract which was really embarrassing, I have to say, because it was so poor," Rixon said. "I'm the assistant coach of Australia, and I get more staying with that job than on the contract they sent through. It was really quite embarrassing for an international coach.

"In the end I just texted back several times and said, 'Look, we're talking massive differences in the job package, and I'm not here to debate it with anyone, but where I would be coming from is a lot bigger than what Sri Lanka can afford.' I was looking forward to sitting down and talking to someone, but no one's really given me that respect I suppose, to be able to do that. And I said no, I'm not really interested."

SLC had evaluated its candidates through a series of interviews and presentations, but Rixon had been perturbed by the request to travel to Sri Lanka for an interview, and by the board's sporadic communication with him.

"Don't expect me to come running over there to do an interview. Interviews are a waste of time. You either want someone, and you know that, or you don't," Rixon said. "I've been around first-class cricket for 20-odd years as a coach. I played for 15 years as a player. It's not as if I'm unknown. I think they'd know what I can and can't do without sitting me down in front of a group of people. It was a bit disappointing the way it was processed, and in the end I thought it's not the way to go."

Rixon said his initial interest in the job was borne from his affinity for Sri Lanka over several years of observing the team. However, while insufficient pay drove his decision to decline the job, SLC's sudden sacking of Geoff Marsh in 2012 and the board's reputation had contributed to it.

"What happened with Geoff Marsh would have been one of the things that played on my mind," Rixon said. "I've also talked to a lot of Sri Lankan players and the fact that they don't get paid when they're meant to be paid. The administration has had their share of controversies, and a number of things.

"But to be honest, Sri Lanka was always one place that intrigued me. I liked Sri Lanka and I think the country is lovely and, of all the Asian countries, it's by far the one that appeals to me the most. With the sort of people that you were dealing with around ten years ago, I thought they were good people and it did interest me. I did think about moving to Sri Lanka, but the harsh reality is you don't have enough money in the set-up."

The only foreign coach that remains on SLC's two-man shortlist is Mark Davis, a little-known coach who is currently among the staff at Sussex. Rixon suggested the pay attached to the Sri Lanka role would only appeal to coaches on the make.

"If you want to get a coach who is a career coach and just making his way, and that sort of thing, no problems, you might get someone for that," he said. "But you're not going to get someone who's been around and coached internationally, and coached all over the world, unless you're prepared to pay a reasonable dollar. You're making a big sacrifice to go live in Sri Lanka, and to turn your life on its head. To do that, you really need to have a package that's certainly acceptable."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dimuthu on November 23, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    Fast_Track_Bully - I'm curious to know how you ascertained "So, cricket is no more popular in SL so that the board will get enough money to pay their coach?" Cricket is still massively popular! SL doesn't have a billion tv viewers of course, to generate the massive sums commanded by stations in India. The problem in SLC is absolute mismanagement of reasonable funds. White Elephant projects such as the two new stadia for the WC as well as Dambulla back in the early 00s (which was a good idea, but executed horrendously - built in something ridiculous like 150 days - using cheap materials but quoting billions. we know whose pockets those dollars lined!) Something revolutionary needs to happen in SL, and having a high flying head coach would only mask things further. There needs to be a management revolution first - and this can only be done by decoupling it completely from the country's Government.

  • Delan on November 23, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Whilst it's not great airing these details out in public in one way it's good that Rixon has done so. SLC has not been transparent about a lot its dealings and appointments. It's still not fully clear what happened to cause Marsh to be sacked prematurely, and Ford to be appointed. To those complaining they don't know who Rixon, did you ask they same question when Dav Whatmore first took over. Search Cricinfo and you will see who he is.

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2013, 0:46 GMT

    Respect! For All , regardless of how many years you coached! If you think they were wrong to offer you so less dollers etc then you could have said all that privately but making public puts you and the SL board under spotlight whom only one is the beneficiary and other is disgraced , I Condemn it.

  • Ian on November 22, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    @Seyed-Mohamed Qaaid: There's a coincidence, I understand he's never heard of you either :)

  • Natan on November 22, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    Folks, with due respect to all the comment, Rixon is a little unknown entity and that is best. Good players don't make good coaches and vice a versa. Coach is just another tool to succeed in your goals. Quieter the tool better the results. It is about end results for the country and not about coaches and players if you really look at it from the country/board's perspective. Agreed, that Rixon wasn't a stellar player in his heydays but that doesn't mean he is not a good coach. The fact, that we have not heard of him as much in spite of coaches CSK in IPL-2010/11, suggests that he must be a good coach since he got his job done quietly to help CSK perform well. SLC's remuneration package is another story. But undermining Rixon is a bit too much.

  • Dummy4 on November 22, 2013, 19:32 GMT

    Um, ive never heard of this guy before...

  • Dummy4 on November 22, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    He might seem to be rude but from his perspective he might be right. But overall he was not that good a player at international stage and an average one at first class level. So my advice Mr. NIXON these matters should be handled are no JOHN WRIGHT. Blabbering things to press does no good to your reputation Sir.

  • Manesh on November 22, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    As per the news top3 SL approached declaimed it. So, it must be due to remuneration. What a shame for SL cricket and its fans! So, cricket is no more popular in SL so that the board will get enough money to pay their coach? What a pathetic situation. Now, SL board has to 'adjust' with remaining candidates. But only kids can analyze a coach with his past scores. For eg: John Wright who considered as the best coach ever. But he donot have anything significant to show as a player.

  • Harmon on November 22, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    Honestly, before this issue came out, had anyone heard of anything of note done by Mr. Steve Rixon? Forget about his track record, how many of us were aware of his existence? I keep myself abreast of many cricket related news but even to me his name sounded barely familiar. I had no idea he was the asst coach of Aus. Even now we keep hearing of the so called track record of Mr. Steve Rixon but will someone tell me what exactly has he achieved? Or does Rixon think that the word Track Record means being a coach for X no of years, even if nothing of note had been achieved?

    This article makes it clear that Rixon wanted a salary of his own choice but still did not want to come for an interview as if it was beneath his dignity to be interviewed. For a man whose name barely registers a decibel as a player or as a coach even after so many years and someone whose resume is practically empty, Rixon really has a colossal ego.

    Luckily SL have just avoided another Greg Chappellian fiasco.

  • Dhushan on November 22, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    I don't understand how you expect to get a coaching job without an interview. It's not a honorary post on a director board. Plus, the said salary must be more than enough for someone living in SL, although it might definitely not be enough when converted to AUD & living in Aus.

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