SLC denies Rixon asked for interview
Sri Lanka Cricket has denied it requested Australia assistant coach, Steve Rixon, to travel to Sri Lanka for an interview as part of the board's appraisal of candidates for the position of Sri Lanka head coach. In a statement released to ESPNcricinfo, the board said Rixon had been informed he would be required for an in-person interview if he had been shortlisted, but talks with him did not progress that far.
Rixon had, this week, been scathing of the notion he should have to interview for the role, given the visibility of his track record. He had said the pay SLC had offered him for the job was "embarrassing" for the position of a national coach.
"Sri Lanka Cricket would like to clarify that at no stage was [Rixon] shortlisted, neither was he asked to appear for an interview," the statement said. "SLC always follows the proper procedures and correct processes in recruitment and would never consider any applicant who is not prepared go through the proper process."
Both Rixon and the board agree that he did not formally apply for the role, but the board said it was Rixon who had made initial contact, when he "intimated his desire to be the head coach of the Sri Lankan team," through a third party. The board also rejected Rixon's suggestion that the board had been lax in its communication with him, and said it was instead Rixon who had been unresponsive, hastening the end of their interaction.
"SLC acting CEO, Mr. Ashley De Silva, contacted Mr. Rixon via telephone, and during the discussion he inquired about the package that is associated with the said post," the statement said. "Since it was inappropriate to disclose the package over the phone, SLC forwarded the current package and requested him to keep it confidential, and if he is shortlisted for the post, he will have to face an interview in Sri Lanka.
"Mr. Rixon responded indicating that the package disclosed to him was not attractive enough for him to consider. ln order to pursue the matter further, SLC requested him to indicate an amount of his expectation. However, there was no response from Mr. Rixon to-date."
Sri Lanka had initially shortlisted five candidates from their pool of 11 applications, before narrowing the field further, to two candidates. However, although current assistant coach Marvan Atapattu and Mark Davis comprise the two-man shortlist, the board has said their search is not necessarily confined to the remaining candidates.
The new coach's first assignment will be Sri Lanka's full tour of Bangladesh, after Graham Ford steps down at the end of January. Ford had opted not to renew his contract, citing family reasons.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here