Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Australia gives former Proteas coach Mickey Arthur the boot

As part of a coaching restructure revealed by Cricket Australia, captain Michael Clarke has stepped down as a selector of the team.

"The simple thing is, the performances of the Australia team have not been at the standards we expect or desire," CA chief executive James Sutherland said at a news conference in Bristol.

Arthur was hired as the first foreign-born coach of Australia in November 2011 but the South African's tenure has been plagued by poor results and player indiscipline in recent months.

"The disappointing thing is that we were nearly there to cracking it," said Arthur, who added that he didn't "feel let down by the players at all."

"But I do take responsibility," he said.

The Australians lost a test series 4-0 in India this year and failed to win a match at the Champions Trophy one-day tournament which has just concluded in England.

Punch drunk
Off the pitch, Arthur polarised public opinion when he dropped four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, from his team for the third test for failing to complete written reports on their views of the team's performance. The saga was dubbed "Homeworkgate."

Arthur might also have been held partly responsible for an off-field incident involving opening batsman David Warner during the Champions Trophy. Warner was reportedly drunk when he aimed a punch at England batsman Joe Root at a nightclub in Birmingham, after Australia's 43-run loss to England in a group match.

Warner has been suspended until the first Ashes test, but Sutherland expressed regret at the ineffectual manner in which the incident was first dealt with by team management.

"Discipline, consistency of behavior and accountability for performance are all key ingredients that need to improve," Sutherland said in a Cricket Australia statement. "And we see that the head coach is ultimately responsible for that."

"The timing is far from ideal," Sutherland added, "but we didn't feel we could sit back and hope matters would change without addressing issues critical to a high-performing team culture. It obviously isn't the type of change we want to make three weeks out from the Ashes commencing but we believe a change is needed."

Confident of decision
​Lehmann, who is in England and has coached Australia A, led Queensland state to victories in Australia's first class and one-day competitions and the Brisbane Heat to win the Big Bash Twenty20 league.

The 43-year-old Lehmann, who played 27 tests and 117 one-day internationals for Australia, has also coached Kings XI Punjab and the now defunct Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League.

"We're really confident that we are making the right decision right now, that this team will respond under Darren Lehmann and we will see an effort during this Ashes series and going forward that Australian cricket fans can be very proud of," Sutherland said. "We're confident that the decisions that we've made, tough as they might be, will see improved performance in the short and long term."

The first of five Ashes tests starts at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on July 10. The team will meet in a five-test series in Australia later this year.

"They are a really good, young group of players who, yes, do need to learn the ropes and learn the ropes quickly," Arthur said. "And they are learning the hard way at the moment." – Sapa-AP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Sapa Ap
Guest Author

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

South Africa must approach its energy transition pragmatically

A sensible climate policy must balance the imperative of decarbonisation, socioeconomic policy and security of supply considerations

Steel strike: Workers struck while the iron was hot

After almost three weeks, labour and employers have reached a deal — setting the steel industry back on its path to recovery

Why handing over ICC suspects could help Sudan’s transition

A failed coup in September, weeks of brinkmanship, and a looming crisis in eastern Sudan have laid bare tensions between civilians and military leaders

Phoenix activist takes on Durban’s politically connected in November polls

Independent candidates look set to play a greater role in the metro municipality after 1 November

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…