PCB appoint Steve Rixon as fielding coach while Mahmood, Ahmed handed bowling responsibilities
Musthaq Ahmed will be the bowling coach for the Test series against England with Azhar Mahmood taking up the role for the limited-overs leg.
In a continuation of the wholesale changes being carried out by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) following the nation’s disastrous outing at the Asia Cup and 2016 World T20, Australian Steve Rixon has been appointed as Pakistan’s new fielding coach, Hindustan Times reported on Monday.
Rixon, who was the assistant coach of the Australian cricket team for a period of close to three years from 2011 to 2014, was nominated for the post by compatriot Mickey Arthur, who replaced Waqar Younis as coach of the Pakistan team in May 2016. The duo worked together while Arthur was handling the affairs for Australia and following Darren Lehmann’s appointment, Rixon was also relieved of his duties soon after.
Further additions have been made to the coaching staff with former Pakistan internationals Musthaq Ahmed and Azhar Mahmood being appointed bowling coaches for the England Test and limited-overs series respectively.
“We have appointed Rixon as fielding coach, Mushtaq Ahmed as bowling coach for Tests, Azhar Mahmood (bowling coach) for the limited over series,” said a PCB spokesperson.
After assuming his role in May, Arthur had emphasised on the need for Pakistan to improve massively their batting and fielding aspects of the game.
"Our bowling is good, but we need to lift our batting massively," Arthur had said, as reported by Cricbuzz. "I will also be tough on fielding and fitness and need players who can play long-term, and these issues are non-negotiable. I also want players who aren't prepared to be bullied."
In 59-year-old Rixon, who played in 13 Tests and 6 ODIs between 1977 and 1985 before assuming coaching roles with New Zealand and New South Wales among others post-retirement, Arthur will have just the authoritarian figure he hopes will help shake what is a sluggish Pakistan outfit on the field.
The team’s bowling affairs will be handled by former leg-spinner and current head of Pakistan’s National Cricket Academy (NCA) Musthaq Ahmed for the longer format of the game while Azhar Mahmood will step in for the ODI and T20 leg of the tour once his contract with Surrey, as a player, runs out in July. As per unconfirmed reports, Mahmood is likely to be offered a full one-year contract after the tour to England.
The three new additions will certainly bolster the Pakistan team management setup which already have former Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower as their batting coach and former trainer-cum-fielding-coach Grant Luder who will now assume the role of a full-time physical trainer.