Bristol, 24 June: In a sudden move, Cricket Australia (CA) today sacked Mickey Arthur (in photo left) and appointed Darren Lehmann (in photo right) as the new coach of the Australian team just weeks ahead of the Ashes series.
The 45-year-old Arthur, who was appointed as coach in November 2011, came in for sharp criticism following Australia’s poor performances and disciplinary issues within the camp.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said it was a difficult decision but it was taken to make Australia a better side.
“This has been a difficult decision to make but one that we feel is necessary. We are looking to establish a high performing Australian cricket team that is consistent over a period of time,” Sutherland said.
“To achieve that, we need all the parts moving in the right direction. Recent on-field results have been too inconsistent.
“Discipline, consistency of behaviour and accountability for performance are all key ingredients that need to improve. And we see that the head coach is ultimately responsible for that,” he added.
Arthur, who had a contract till the end of the 2015 World Cup, said though it was disappointing he admitted that he could not do justice to his job.
“Naturally I’m very disappointed with how this has all ended. I certainly wanted to see the job through but I accept that the team hasn’t been completely galvanised under my leadership and our performances have been inconsistent,” said Arthur, under whom Australia has won 10 of 19 Tests, 18 of 39 ODIs and 7 of 16 T20s.
The day also saw Michael Clarke resigning from his role as a selector of the team.
“Michael first approached Pat Howard in April after the recent Indian series and requested to stand down as a selector so that he could focus on his team’s and his own preparation to play international cricket. This change will allow Michael to focus his primary responsibilities as a player and as captain,” Sutherland said. Arthur said Australia will need a “unified” team for the Ashes series which starts on July 10.
“I’m certainly a believer in good culture and traditions much like all Australians and feel we were starting to get a shift in the right direction. We certainly need the team to be absolutely unified if we’re any chance of beating the English,” Arthur said.
“I will take some time out with family and friends and reflect on this and hope to continue my career in cricket coaching. I am passionate about it and, like all Australians, I want to see us succeed on and off the field.”
“It has been a very challenging 18 months and I think the future is bright for Australian cricket. I have built some wonderful relationships over the period and I genuinely care about the team and wish them all the best in the upcoming series,” he added.
Arthur paid the price for Australia’s 0-4 Test series loss in India, a poor Champions Trophy campaign and the disciplinary issues within the team. Sutherland said the decision to replace Arthur with Lehmann was taken yesterday and the South African was intimated about it in person. pti