Australia will reconsider how to coach their spin bowlers after the series in India, unless their performances improve in the remaining two Tests.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon was dropped after the first Test and the duo of Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell had mixed outings in the hiding of Hyderabad that left Australia 2-0 behind.
The team’s spin coach is former Test wicketkeeper Steve Rixon, whose responsibilities as fielding coach were widened late last year to incorporate the supervision of slow bowling. There have been questions asked about why a former gloveman was installed to oversee the team’s spin contingent, rather than a specialist, but head coach Mickey Arthur says Rixon is well-qualified for the post.
However, Arthur said the arrangement will be revisited if the squad’s trio of spinners – Lyon, Doherty and Maxwell – do not enjoy more success in the final two Tests in Mohali, starting on Thursday, and Delhi.
”We’ll reassess that at the end of the year and see how it’s gone. But for the time being [Rixon] is putting a hell of a lot of effort into our spin bowlers and, ultimately, at some stage they’ve got to take responsibility as well,” Arthur said after the second-Test drubbing.
”We’re giving them everything. Steve is working exceptionally hard with them and if it doesn’t work and it hasn’t worked by the end of this tour we’ll certainly be reassessing that and having a look as to what the best way forward is for our spin bowlers.”
It is unclear which spinner Australia will pick for the third Test, but the chances are there will only be one in the XI, with the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium expected to favour seamers more than the previous two venues.
Lyon was omitted after being costly in the defeat in Chennai and, while Maxwell and Doherty took wickets in the innings loss in Hyderabad – four and three respectively, they were unable to make the desired impact as Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay’s 370-run stand blew Australia out of the game.
Rixon’s portfolio was extended in November to assist Lyon in his attempt to thwart South Africa’s world-leading batsmen. The former NSW and New Zealand head coach, who is also fielding coach at Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, is one of four Australian coaching staff alongside Arthur, Ali de Winter (fast bowling) and Michael di Venuto.
”We had a discussion around how best we could facilitate and look after our spin bowlers,” Arthur said. ”Steve Rixon has coached a lot of spin before. There is a synergy between a wicketkeeper and a spin bowler and we thought ‘we’ll give it a go.’ ”
Former Test leg-spinner Stuart MacGill has been appointed a part-time consultant to coach emerging spinners at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.