Tim Nielsen, the former coach of Australia, has been named as South Australia's new general manager of high performance. Nielsen will take over the job that was vacated in May when his predecessor Jamie Cox was sacked by the South Australian Cricket Association following breaches of the Big Bash League's recruitment rules.
A former South Australia wicketkeeper who played 99 first-class matches for the state, Nielsen coached Australia from 2007 to 2011 and has worked with South Australia since then as the state's talent manager. Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive of the SACA, said Nielsen's depth of experience and knowledge made him perfect for the position.
"Tim's experience with the national side and his intimate knowledge of the state system made him the standout candidate," Bradshaw said. "We had an outstanding field of applicants and are delighted to appoint Tim to this role; he will hit the ground running this week.
"The selection process has given us an opportunity to look at our procedures and structures and the ability to challenge the way we operated in our high performance area."
Nielsen will take up his position at a time of some improvement for South Australia, who finished third on the Sheffield Shield points table last summer following four consecutive wooden spoons. Nielsen said his short-term focus would be to consolidate the positive growth period for cricket in South Australia.
"Our underage teams have led the way nationally over the past two years and our women's team, the Scorpions, enjoyed great improvement last year," Nielsen said. "We have experienced more success in the Sheffield Shield and I believe that we can achieve the ultimate goal with this group.
"We have fantastic people in our high performance department from our coaching staff, to performance analysts and physios. I want to ensure that at all levels of cricket, South Australia has a long-term period of sustained success, developing elite first-class cricketers and turning them into Australian players."
Cox was appointed to the high performance role in 2008 but was sacked by the SACA this year at a time when Cricket Australia was investigating alleged breaches of the Big Bash League's recruitment rules by the SACA. Cricket Australia eventually found that the SACA had entered into agreements with Brad Hodge, Jonathan Dean and Kieron Pollard before the contracting window opened and fined the organisation $50,000.