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    Nielsen steps down as Australia coach

    Sydney: Australia head coach Tim Nielsen has decided to step down rather than reapply for his job, Cricket Australia said on Tuesday.

    Nielsen would have been forced to reapply for a position he had held for more than four years, after a seven-month review into the way Australian cricket is run recommended that the role of national team coach should be expanded and refined.

    The report came after Australia's loss of a home Ashes series to England last season.

    Rather than go through that process, Nielsen decided "to begin a new chapter in his professional life," Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said.

    In a statement on the Cricket Australia website, Nielsen said he would be taking up a different role in Australian cricket that has yet to be announced.

    "It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the Australian cricket team in the role of head coach for the last four and half years," Nielsen said. "Throughout that period we have had some great success as well as experiencing some tough times."

    After taking over from previous coach John Buchanan, Nielsen oversaw a period of transition in the Australian national team.

    High-profile players such as spinner Shane Warne, batsmen Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden and pace bowler Glenn McGrath retired. Australia has dropped from No. 1 in the Test rankings to No. 4, and lost back-to-back Ashes series during Nielsen's tenure. After the last Ashes loss, Ricky Ponting stepped down as captain.

    "I think when John Buchanan finished and Tim took over, in the next two years the team lost seven of its senior players," McGrath said. "For any team to lose one or two has a big effect, so to lose that many senior players, it does leave a big hole. Since then we've been in that rebuilding stage."

    Nielsen coached Australia in 15 Test series between 2007 and 2011, winning nine, losing five and drawing one.

    The report into Australia's performance by former mining company executive Don Argus recommended the implementation of a five-man selection panel comprising a full-time chairman, two part-time selectors, the national captain and head coach.

    The changes have led to other departures from the national setup.

    Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch stepped down in August and selectors Greg Chappell and Jamie Cox have also been among the departures.

    Australia is currently ranked No. 1 in one-day cricket. Nielsen coached Australia in 25 one-day international series, overseeing 17 wins, seven losses and one draw.

    Australia wrapped up a series win over Sri Lanka on Tuesday by drawing the third and final Test in Colombo.

    "To go out on top maybe was the way he wanted to go," McGrath said. "I think he's done a good job, a tough job, there's no doubt about that, but obviously it's time for somebody else to take over the reins."