Nielsen takes mentoring role
Sydney - Former Australian cricket coach Tim Nielsen signed with a regional development programme on Thursday, fresh from his national resignation following a sweeping review of the sport.
Two days after quitting as Australian coach, Nielsen said he would head South Australian cricket's "Emerging Redbacks" scheme, aimed at developing the state's new cricket talent.
The top job was thrown open after the seven-month Argus Review of Australian cricket recommended the creation of an expanded head coach position, which Nielsen would have had to apply for, despite already being at the helm.
"Four weeks ago the review findings were handed down and I felt that made it quite difficult for me to continue in the role I was doing with Australian cricket," Nielsen told reporters on Thursday.
"I'm not sure in my own mind I was willing to go through the process or put myself back in the mixer after four and half years of doing the job."
He said he "coincidentally" learned of the South Australian role while digesting the Argus review, and talks with his family ultimately sealed his decision.
"A week ago, I got to the stage where my wife actually turned up in Colombo unannounced and brought the three kids over for a chat because she realised we were doing it a bit tough," he said.
"When we had the opportunity to sit down face to face, it probably took a pretty clear turn to say that it's going to be difficult to get the role back."
The sweeping Argus Review was ordered by the Australian cricket board after the Test team's humiliating 3-1 Ashes series defeat at home to England this year.
Nielsen presided over two Ashes series losses against England, and Australia also failed to retain the limited-overs World Cup in April under his watch after winning it on the last three occasions.
Australian cricket is undergoing a transitional period following the retirement of greats like Shane Warne, Mathew Hayden, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist.
Nielsen, 43, said he "certainly didn't expect to be standing here" a month ago, but refused to make any further comment about stepping down from the national squad after four years, describing it as a "personal decision".
The hunt is now on for a new mentor, with ex-New Zealand coach Steve Rixon emerging as a frontrunner and former Australian Test batsman Justin Langer also in the running, at least as interim replacement while a tour of South Africa looms.
Australian Test captain Michael Clarke earlier said Nielsen had done an "amazing job for Australia", and though he anticipated having some input into the decision, declined to nominate a successor.
"He's been fantastic for me, not only as a captain, but as a player and he's certainly going to be missed.
"But in regards to names I'm not going to get involved in that because to me it's irrelevant."