Reclaiming No.1 Test ranking not on Oz team`s mind

Brisbane: Australian cricket team coach Tim Nielsen has said that reclaiming the number one Test ranking is not a priority for the side, as it seeks to rebuild itself after last year`s far from satisfactory performance on the international stage.

Nielsen said improving team consistency was the main focus ahead of next month`s tour to Sri Lanka.

"We are not even thinking about No.1. To get to No.4 then No.3 (and so on) in the Test rankings and maintain our hold on the No.1 ranking in one-day cricket we need our players to be as consistent as they can be. To prepare the team for Sri Lanka is my only worry at the moment," a daily quoted Nielsen, as saying.

"I am not privy to the results of the (CA) review. I have had my discussions with them and they will make their decision from that. I can`t let it worry me," he added.

While appearing to concede Australia was "out-coached" in the Ashes, Nielsen admitted the public criticism he copped as a result had hurt.

"You don`t like it, being singled out - let`s be honest. It is hard at times but when we play like the Ashes you stand up and cop it on the chin just like the players on the field. There was a lot of talk about being outcoached in the Ashes and it is hard to argue with that. If it (criticism) doesn`t kill you, it makes you stronger. And we are looking forward to getting better," Nielsen said.

The CA review has already led to the appointment of ex-Test players Steve Rixon, Justin Langer and Craig McDermott as specialist assistants to Nielsen.

However, one of the biggest post-Ashes changes has been implemented by the national selectors - the sensational dumping of veteran opener Simon Katich.

Nielsen wasn`t concerned it could affect team harmony despite ex-skipper Ricky Ponting and current vice-captain Shane Watson expressing their surprise over Katich`s omission.

"That has happened for 100 years. Players have been left out who are good mates with guys in the side, and nothing has changed," he said.

But Nielsen said they must heed the selectors`` message following Katich`s axing.

"You don`t necessarily like players not performing or not retained but it`s the nature of the beast at this level," he said.


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