Nixon grateful for support

New Leicestershire CCC Head Coach Paul Nixon said that he was humbled by the level of support received after his appointment was announced.

Among the many well wishers on social media were former international cricketers Michael Vaughan, Alec Stewart, Mark Butcher, Damien Martyn, Jack Russell, Darren Maddy, Chris Adams and Ed Giddins while former teammates Jigar Naik, Anthony Ireland and Nick Walker also got in touch.

As if on cue, Nixon’s iPhone vibrates on the table as the topic changes to communication, and the location of his charger is just as important as his trusty notebook and pen at the moment.

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing or going off with messages, notifications and emails but it’s great. I love being busy,” said Nixon. 

“Social media went off the scale when the news has been announced and it was nice to see letters in the Leicester Mercury, and also all of the feedback that the club has received.

“The messages I've had of support has been really great. A lot of people may not come here on a daily basis but they dearly want Leicestershire County Cricket Club to succeed, and that is magnificent. 

“We've always done well as a club, we've won County Championships, reached Lord's Finals, and done very well in T20. We always had an elite mindset when I was a player. 

“Through one thing or another, it has just slid away. Leicestershire hasn't performed the way that our Members and supporters, who have been very loyal, have wanted. 

“Things do go in cycles but I think that it’s the manner in which things have happened. Maybe the Members and supporters haven't felt that there has been a mutual respect at times. 

“We have to make sure that as sportsmen and entertainers that we do the right and decent thing, and make sure that we connect again with everybody."

Lots has changed at the Fischer County Ground over the years since Nixon first joined in 1989. The players now have lunch in the Charles Palmer Suite instead of netting there like when Nixon first started. The Mike Turner Indoor Centre is now in place for that.

There are floodlights, the Red Monkey Play area, new radio boxes and viewing balcony and a state of the art replay screen that can show video content as well as the score. 

One thing has remained the same though. The trip to Grace Road has been a well-travelled one over the years and Nixon could probably find his way blindfolded during one of his evening runs.

But Nixon admits that the journey never quite felt the same coming back once his playing days had finished, and says that his senses have been heightened once again.

He said: “It almost felt different coming to the ground when I wasn't playing. I have done stuff ad hoc with the Leicestershire age group squads and delivered some coaching sessions with young players during half-terms but it was funny when I came back through the gates. 

“When I played, I was involved and fully immersed in it, and didn’t really think about coming in. But when I came back as a non-player, I almost felt that it wasn't my place to be at the ground watching because I couldn't make a difference. 

“I couldn’t help; I wanted to know what the guys were thinking, what their gameplans were, and how they were going about it with their processes. I just never felt comfortable sitting and watching Leicestershire play when I wasn't directly involved.

“But now when I'm coming in I know we want to create something that is very special again, and I feel that I am properly back again. I felt like I was sitting on a train watching it all go by but now it's like I am on a different train and am part of a great journey again.”

For Nixon, the journey is all about the people.

“There are a lot of very good people at Leicestershire, both working for the club or part of it in other ways,” he said. 

“The Members and supporters have had a hard time but from all of the messages, it's nice to know that they have got the faith in the club, which is great. We will do everything we can to get things back on track - and that work has already started.”

* In the third part of the interview, Nixon discusses the influences of his playing career and how they will help in this next exciting chapter.

Thanks to Ed Melia for the photo of Paul Nixon at Edgbaston on T20 Finals Day 2011.