CHRISTCHURCH: Former New Zealand coach Steve Rixon isn’t surprised by Australia’s cricket decline, arguing the ‘cracks’ have been a long time in the making.
Rixon, who played 13 Tests for Australia as a wicket-keeper/batsman and is now Pakistan’s fielding coach, has been an interested observer of events across the Tasman, where chairman of selectors Rod Marsh resigned this week following back-to-back embarrassing home losses to South Africa.
The man, who coached the Black Caps between 1996 and 1999, was dumped as Australia’s assistant by coach Darren Lehmann in January 2014, who is under heavy scrutiny, following a dreadful recent run of results.
Rixon said on Saturday problems within Cricket Australia had been brewing for some time and finally come to a head.
“I’m not surprised where it’s all got to. That’s something that was probably there and the cracks have started to appear,” Rixon said during day three of the first New Zealand-Pakistan Test at the Hagley Oval. “It’s not an issue to me at the moment. I’m just worrying about what I do here [with Pakistan]. I’m not too concerned what they do there.”
Rixon expected Lehmann to hold his job for now and said he wouldn’t be interested if it became vacant in the future.
“In the past I would have. I don’t think I’d be too concerned about it now. Certainly not in the process I’ve had to go through in the last couple of times at it,” Rixon remarked.
Pakistan tour Australia, starting next month, where they will be attempting to win an away Test series there for the first time.
Rixon described the current Aussie side as ‘vulnerable’ and said they were far too reliant on skipper Steve Smith and David Warner with the bat, and quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
When they weren’t firing, others weren’t stepping up, which was placing them under immense pressure.
He warned of making wholesale changes for the third Test in Adelaide next week and the Pakistan series, saying reliable past performers like Nathan Lyon and Adam Voges were still quality cricketers.
“If you keep on swapping and changing, you’ve got a lot of vulnerability in your ranks and a lot of uncertainty,” he observed. “If they wish [to drop lots of players] for the next series against us, I’d be very happy for them to do that.”
He believed Pakistan were facing Australia at an opportune time, but expected them to be difficult to beat at home.
Despite their struggles, Rixon tipped Australia to eventually bounce back, arguing they had too much depth to stay down for too long.
“They [Australia] will come through it. It’s just how they’re handled and the way it’s handled, which is probably the key. That might be where the problems might lie,” Rixon said.