Australia news November 22, 2011

Mickey Arthur chosen as Australia's coach


Mickey Arthur, the former South Africa coach, has been appointed the new coach of Australia, a role with wide-ranging responsibilities after its redefinition under the recommendations of the Argus review.

Arthur is the first foreign-born coach to be appointed to oversee Australia's fortunes, and will be in place in time for the first Test between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane from December 1 to 5. Arthur's contract will run until the end of the 2015 World Cup.

"I am honoured and privileged to have another chance to coach an international team, particularly a team of the ilk of Australia," Arthur said. "I think I bring a fresh, unblinkered eye to the role after plotting against Australia when coaching South Africa, and having now worked within the Australian system with the Warriors.

"Australia has an abundance of cricket talent and I am confident the talent is there to ensure Australia is successful."

Following a thorough search that included entreaties to the England coach Andy Flower, among others, Arthur was confirmed in the job after a final round of interviews last week. Steve Rixon, Tom Moody and Justin Langer were among the other contenders for the job.

Since resigning from the South Africa job, Arthur worked as coach of Western Australia, familiarising himself with the Australian game and also showing his capability for tough decisions as he worked to revitalise a state that had developed, in his words, "too many comfort zones".

Arthur had kept one eye on events at Cricket Australia since his arrival to coach WA, but said he became seriously interested in the role only after Tim Nielsen's position was opened up to new candidates and the incumbent chose not to reapply.

"Once Tim vacated the role [at the end of the Sri Lanka series] then it got serious," Arthur said. "It was too good an opportunity not to have a look at, so I think I became interested once the advertisement went out for the post. I was really happy at Western Australia and really happy that we were trying to build something, but this job was just too good not to have a look at."

In addition to coaching Australia, Arthur will be a selector, and also the man responsible for ensuring the coaching philosophy and structure across all state sides will be consistent with and helpful to the progress of the national team. It is a commission similarly powerful to that held by Flower in England, and not dissimilar to Arthur's in his time with South Africa between 2005 and 2010.

During that tenure, Arthur formed a strong relationship with the captain, Graeme Smith, as the team rose from mediocrity to a peak that included in 2008-09 the first Test series win in Australia by any side for 15 years. Arthur acknowledged that his formation of a strong bond with Clarke, who was known to be a backer of Rixon, would be crucial to the team's success.

"I think the relationship between your captain and coach is one of the most important relationships there is in the game. It is almost like a marriage," Arthur said. "The captain and the coach feed off each other and there can be no discrepancies. Certainly the captain and the coach need to have consistent messages they're continually giving to the players.

"But it doesn't mean the captain and the coach can't challenge each other, that's all part of it and that's done behind closed doors. I'm really excited to work with Michael Clarke, he's an incredible talent and I've been very excited by the way he's gone about his captaincy. I think since he's taken over he's been innovative, he's captained with a lot of flair, and I'm really looking forward to supporting him, so he can be the best he possibly can and get the most runs he possibly can as well."

Shaun Pollock, the former South Africa captain and fast bowler, described Arthur's role with South Africa, and his qualities as a coach. "He's got a good understanding for the game and he will challenge the players," Pollock said. "He's not scared to take on and confront issues, but I think he would be defined more as a man manager."

Arthur's appointment concluded a momentous round of changes to the structure around the Australian team, including the appointment of Pat Howard as team performance manager, the induction of a new selection panel that will now comprise the national selector John Inverarity, Clarke, selectors Rod Marsh and Andy Bichel and Arthur.

The Western Australia coaching position Arthur departed from, also responsible for the Perth Scorchers in the BBL, will be taken over by his assistant Lachlan Stevens.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on November 24, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    @popcorn - mate Justin Langar? Think about it - 3 sub 100s in his time!

  • subbass on November 24, 2011, 6:21 GMT

    Yeh Kepler Wessles was very proud to play for the Aussies same with Nannes.

  • RandyOZ on November 23, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    This is only the tip of a big iceberg. Soon we'll have players like KP who claim to get a tat of the 3 lions to show his dedication to England but really it's because he misses the Lions in the transvaal back home!

  • RandyOZ on November 23, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    Mickey Arthur took SA to the top of the test rankings for a whopping 4 months during his tenure! Admittedly we couldn't be beaten at the time. The comments from the English are downright hilarious. It's like they accept having a United XI for a team now! This is why I don't want a foreign coach. I don't want blatant imports in the team (Ussie, like Prior, is ok. Strauss isn't, he learnt his trade in Oz). I don't want Afrikaans as our official team language like England. Putting on the baggy green is the absolute pinnacle for an Aussie, a foreign coach or foreigners will never understand that. I guess that's because we have such a proud and successful history in test cricket, where we own every record that counts.

  • AidanFX on November 23, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    @ Aussierise think this has been Clarke's focus since he took over ... and I think fielding was mentioned in Argus - so won't be ignored... Fielding was always the thing that separated Aus from other teams... the fielding is showing signs of improving after it went seriously downhill in my estimation.

  • popcorn on November 23, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    I wish Mickey Arthur all the best in his new assignment. I hope he will retain Justin Langer as the batting coach,Steve Rixon as the fielding coach,Craig Dermott as the fast bowling coach, and innovatively get Ashley Mallett or Stuart Macgill as the Spin Bowling Coach.

  • Sharky.omarhenry on November 23, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    BIG MISTAKE!!!! Remember that Little Mickey Mouse were shut-out of The Proteas scene by The Brawler Kid, Graeme Smith and his veterans. And if it wasn't for Ray Jennings that tried to put some respect and discipline foundations in the Protea Camp, they would have made it harder for Mickey earlier. Micky Arthur is a brilliant strategist. I just hoped that he was coach or educated by the Auzzies to be able to coach Auzzies. In Rugby Union, The Springboks coach, Jake White, used Australian Coach Eddie Jones to win them a World Cup. They didn't appoint Eddie as the coach, he had to be the assistant coach. That's the route the Auzzies should have went. Mickey Arthur must be an assistant coach, because Auzzies in general knows more about Crickets finer details then Saffers. I don't say that Mickey isn't worth it, I'm saying don't underestimate Australian Coaches. I think the Proteas needs an Auzzie coach now. No-way, appoint them as assistants if you do have talent.

  • indianzen on November 23, 2011, 9:56 GMT

    whats the point in appointing a foreign coach ? australia cannnot be India at any cost...

  • AdamDthecricketer on November 23, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    His appoitment is great and He needs to do the same job as Bob Simpson

  • plod on November 23, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    I think it is a great appointment, we need some lateral thinking and some objectivity if we are to reclaim our No. 1 position in Test Cricket. I am hoping that we don't see the same mistakes being made. Selection and development need to improve. Our best is very competitive, our worst is bloody shocking. Very un-australian and unacceptable. I hope we go into the First Test against the hapless Kiwis, without Haddin, Johnson, Siddle. They've had their go, time to move on. Wade, Harris and Ben Cutting as my smoky. The attack would be Cummins, Harris, Lyon, Cutting, with hopefully Watto to bowl his sublime seamers! Bring on Summer, can't wait.

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