Rixon to take reins at Surrey

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The Independent Online

Steve Rixon's successful record as a coach has earned him a two-year deal as the cricket manager of Surrey.

The Australian, who will be 50 next month, will relocate to London once his contract with New South Wales runs out in late March. During his second spell in charge of the Blues he oversaw three straight one-day title wins, the last of which was complemented by winning the Pura Cup, Australia's first-class competition.

In his initial stint, which started in 1989-90, New South Wales reached five successive finals of the Sheffield Shield, the Pura Cup's predecessor, winning three and twice completing domestic doubles.

Wedged in between his coaching spells in Sydney came a three-year sabbatical with New Zealand, who had climbed to third in the world rankings before he stood down following the 2-1 Test series win in England in 1999.

"We have searched the world of cricket to find the best person for this crucial position within the club," Paul Sheldon, Surrey's chief executive, said. "Having spent time with him last week in Australia I am convinced that we have found the right man to lead the team into a new era in partnership with [the new captain] Jonathan Batty."

The former Australia wicketkeeper replaces Keith Medlycott, who left at the end of November. Rixon viewed this year as a natural watershed in New South Wales cricket with the Waugh twins, Steve and Mark, retiring and Michael Slater also coming to the end of his career.

"Having been offered roles in English cricket before, I feel this is the deal and challenge that has excited me the most," Rixon said. "It is clearly a squad of high-quality players, who I am looking forward to working with."