Sydney: Cricket Australia has announced that the field for a new coach had been reduced to six from a list of 80, but Mickey Arthur has emerged as the strong favourite.
Arthur dragged the Proteas to the top of the Test rankings from a similar mediocre position to the one Australia now finds itself in.
Arthur refused to discuss speculation that he was closing in on the Australian coaching job.
"It`s all confidential," Arthur told The Age, with CA expected to make an announcement next week.
Pat Howard and James Sutherland have also interviewed Steve Rixon, who has a strong relationship with Australian captain Michael Clarke.
A CA spokesman said an initial shortlist of 10, including some overseas applicants, had been trimmed to six.
Australians Tom Moody and Justin Langer were in the mix, with CA expected to make a decision next week, given it is under pressure to fill the coaching vacuum before the Test team`s next engagement against New Zealand from December 1.
Rixon has the advantage of a strong relationship with captain Michael Clarke, and helped Fleming become one of the world`s best captains when they worked together in New Zealand.