New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen at a training session before the game
Steve Rixon has been appointed Sri Lanka’s fielding coach in their lead-up to the 2019 World Cup, Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed. He will link up with the Sri Lanka squad on December 24, ahead of their second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch.
The move for a new fielding coach has long been mooted, with Sri Lanka head coach Chandika Hathurusingha having grown visibly frustrated at his team’s propensity to squander potentially match-winning opportunities on a nearly game-by-game basis.
These frustrations were brought to a head during the recent home series against England, when the visiting side’s consistent game-changing excellence in the field only served to exacerbate Sri Lanka’s deficiencies.
In Rixon, Sri Lanka have hired one of world cricket’s pre-eminent fielding specialists. He was most recently credited for Pakistan’s stark fielding improvements during his stint as fielding coach there, while prior to that he had worked as Australia’s assistant coach and also coached New Zealand – both stints coincided with the sides becoming among the best fielding outfits in the world.
He has also coached domestic teams in Australia and sides in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League and the Indian Premier League.
Rixon will officially take over duties ahead of the Boxing Day Test, having signed a contract that will expire at the end of 2019 World Cup in England.
Outgoing fielding coach Manoj Abeywickrama will remain with national side for the duration of the first two Tests in New Zealand to oversee the transition, after which he will return home to take up a position in the Sri Lanka A set-up.