Rixon impressed by captain Clarke

Rixon impressed by captain Clarke
By Eurosport

20/08/2011 at 14:25Updated 20/08/2011 at 14:26

He's a man who can spot a captain and Steve Rixon has been impressed by Michael Clarke's leadership of the Australian team in Sri Lanka.

Rixon, Australia's fielding coach, was responsible for the appointment of Stephen Fleming as New Zealand's captain during the 1990s while he was the Black Caps head coach.

Fleming went on to become one of the most widely respected Test skippers in the game and Rixon believes Clarke will also turn out to be champion leader.

"I've seen Pup (Clarke) from a young cricketer when he was first with NSW so I know Pup and I know his personality and he's in a position now where he's carving his own way," Rixon told AAP.

"I think he'll do a terrific job myself.

"I like his enthusiasm, I like the way he's relaxed around the players. He knows the line between being captain and being one of the boys and that's come from a lot of years of experience, seeing the likes of Punter (Ricky Ponting) and Steve Waugh before and how they ran the show.

"I reckon he'll do a very good job because he'll come in with fresh ideas and every change introduces fresh ideas and I think that's healthy."

Clarke has made an encouraging start since taking over the reins full-time following Ponting's decision to step down after the World Cup.

The middle-order batsman has won five of his first six matches in charge, suffering defeat for the first time in Tuesday's third one-day international against the Sri Lankans.

But with his first Test series in charge looming, Rixon believes Clarke's first challenge must be making sure the team is being led how he wants.

"There's a lot of things that don't need fixing but at the same time Pup's got to make his own impression on it, if you like," Rixon said.

"He's got to make a statement: 'This is the way I would like to see things done, I've learnt from very good captains before' is what he would be thinking and 'this is my little slant on it'."

Rixon also feels last summer's Ashes disaster should mark Australia's low-water mark in their decline from world's best and that a movement back up the world rankings isn't far off.

"We were always going to come back to earth and the Ashes were probably the real kick in the belly where we were left saying 'wow, we're right back with the pack'," he said.

"I see that as an exciting challenge. To get these guys up and believing in their own abilities. Get them to trust their preparation - which has been spot-on being honest - and what I've seen around the Brisbane camp and what I'm seeing here is there's no shortage of hard workers.

"There's no shortage of planning involved in the way we're going about it and now we're getting a bit more honesty coming out in everyone's view on things.

"If you bottle it up, it goes nowhere. But if you go and talk about things, it's going to be healthy."