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April 1, 2010
Western Australia have got their wish for a disciplinarian and the new coach Mickey Arthur has already told the under-achieving squad there will be no room for comfort zones. Arthur, who resigned as South Africa's mentor in January, has been given a three-year contract at the WACA, where he replaces Tom Moody.
Arthur will apply similar structures to the ones that lifted the Proteas to the top of the world as he attempts to take the Warriors to their first Sheffield Shield since 1998-99. "We need guys getting stuck in and taking responsibility," Arthur told Cricinfo from South Africa. "There is going to be no room in the squad for comfort zones. I'll be pushing them as hard as I can to get the best results I can."
It is a big change in career path for one of the game's most successful modern coaches, but he is prepared for the less glamorous life in Perth. "Cricket is my passion, my life, my degree is cricket," he said before admitting he has checked domestic scores in Australia for years.
"When I announced my resignation from the South African post I said I would only return to coaching if the ideal challenge presented itself. The right challenge for me is the first one. I've always had a major interest in coaching in Australia, I wanted to go to a place that I thought was ambitious and professional, and in all my dealings with WA they have fitted the bill."
Graeme Wood, Western Australia's chief executive, was impressed with Arthur's track record and his attitude. "He's at the cutting edge of cricket technology," Wood said at the announcement. "He comes over very personable and he's a disciplinarian, and that's very important for our current squad. There's no secret we are probably deficient in the leadership area with our squad at the moment, so the need to have an experienced coach was a high priority."
Arthur's new office will be the scene of one of his greatest triumphs with South Africa. His Test side chased 414 to beat Australia in Perth on the way to a drought-breaking series win in 2008-09 and the result continued an impressive record for him at the ground.
"The two wins in Perth and Melbourne, and the win at Edgbaston, are probably my best moments coaching South Africa," he said. "I've been fortunate to tour Australia three times, once with South Africa's 'A' side, and I've never lost a game at the WACA, so let's the hope the trend continues."
Arthur, who was the favourite for the role as soon as he applied, will criss-cross the Indian Ocean on the nine-hour flight from Johannesburg to Perth during the winter and his family will join him full-time towards the end of the year. He has no official start date yet but wants "to get cracking as soon as possible" to organise the squad contracts and appoint an assistant.
Now 41, Arthur played 110 first-class games as a batsman in South Africa before moving into domestic coaching with Griqualand West and Eastern Cape Warriors. He spent five years in charge of South Africa and in 2008 guided them to series victories over India, England and Australia.
Moody stepped down after three seasons following stints with Sri Lanka and the English county Worcestershire. Western Australia made the Twenty20 final in Moody's opening season but that was his best result as the side's batsmen struggled for consistency.
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