3 Sep 2009

Disappearing tour loses Nielsen too

6:04 pm on 3 September 2009

The Australian cricketers' fading tour of England has taken another step towards obscurity with the revelation that the coach Tim Nielsen will take an unprecedented mid-tour holiday.

It's believed to be the first time the Australian coach has left a tour early since the fulltime position was first created for Bob Simpson in 1986.

Already minus captain Ricky Ponting, the Australians will lose Nielsen for the final three matches of the seven game series before he re-joins the team for the Champions Trophy in South Africa in late September.

In the meantime the pace bowling coach Troy Cooley will deputise for Nielsen on a tour that was rumbling to a halt even before rain washed out the two Twenty20 matches at Old Trafford.

Cricket Australia'soperations manager Michael Brown says it's not unreasonable to grant the coach some time off at the end of a sequence of international matches that began last September.

Under Nielsen's guidance Australia have lost three of their past five Test series and slipped from first to fourth.