Clarke will also turn out to be champion leader: Rixon

Sydney, Aug 20 (IANS) Australia's fielding coach Steve Rixon is impressed with Michael Clarke's leadership skills in Sri Lanka.

Rixon, who played key role in turning Stephen Fleming into one of the most respected captains of New Zealand, feels Clarke will also turn out to be champion leader.

The Australian was responsible for Fleming's appointment as the skipper during the 1990s while he was the Black Caps head coach.

"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 was quoted as saying in the Australian media. "I think he'll do a terrific job."

Rixon is impressed with Clarke's enthusiasm and relaxed attitude.

"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," he said.

Clarke was appointed the captain after Ricky Ponting decided to step down following Australia's quarterfinal exit from the World Cup.

Since taking over, Clarke has led the Australian team to five wins in its first six ODIs. But his first biggest test will be the forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.

"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 was confident of Australia's rise after last summer's Ashes disaster.

"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," he said.


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