Sydney - Former Test wicketkeeper Steve Rixon has been appointed Australia's new fielding coach and promised to set new standards for a country which has lost its reputation as the world's best in that department.
Rixon, who played 13 Tests and six one-dayers for Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s before going on to coach New Zealand and New South Wales, will accompany the team on tours of Sri Lanka and South Africa over the next six months.
Once one of their greatest strengths, the decline in Australia's fielding standards contributed to their humiliating Ashes defeat at the turn of the year.
"Fielding skills play such an important role in the modern game and often proves the difference between winning and losing," Rixon, 57, said in a news release.
"The Australian team has long been known as one of the best fielding sides in world cricket and my job will not only be to maintain the good work done before but about setting the benchmark for opposition sides."
American Mike Young brought baseball skills to Australian fielding in his decade of association with the team but was used sparingly in the recent Ashes series.