Australia news August 19, 2013

'Watson was one of the guys I lost' - Arthur

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mickey Arthur, who was sacked as Australia's coach just a fortnight before the Ashes began, has spoken out on how he "lost" Shane Watson and tried to mould the younger players who came with "big egos".

The cracks in his relationship with Watson, Arthur said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, first appeared on Australia's tour of India in February this year, which the visitors lost 0-4. The side's on-field problems were exacerbated when Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were suspended for the third Test of the series for not completing a team-building assignment.

That incident, Arthur said, was a tipping point. "My relationships were outstanding, except with Watson. He was one of the guys I lost. India was where it started going wrong, when we suspended those players.

"If I sit back and think, 'Would I do it [suspend the players] again?' ... well, I probably would. Because I believed so much in what we were trying to do."

Arthur said he was disappointed how "people backtracked" after the players were suspended.

"I met with all our staff before I did it and our staff were adamant that was the right way to go. I ended up making those decisions and then ended up bearing the brunt of them," he said. "I just get annoyed because I put everything into it and I put my head on the line with a lot of big decisions and a lot of the people who were very keen for us to make those decisions then backtracked.''

He was forced to take a tough stance, he said, because the team lacked direction and leadership. "I understood that I drive the ship, but the ship needed conscious changes - it needed value changes. We put together this whole values document for all the young players coming into the Australian side. They got a booklet and we told them exactly what the expectations were, because the young guys coming in didn't know.

"They're good players, they're not great players. They're earning obscene amounts of money and they've got big egos, but they don't know the best way to go about it. So we put in these definite guidelines because we had no leaders there."

Despite the sour note on which his tenure ended, and his subsequent severance battle with Cricket Australia - which finished in an out-of-court settlement - Arthur said he was disappointed to see the team being thumped in the Ashes. "I couldn't imagine waking up and being 0-3 down in the Ashes now. But I don't get any pleasure out of watching them struggle."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on August 21, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    @Green_and_Gold, you're assuming that the homework saga was the FIRST infringement of team discipline and expectations, when, as has been stated many times, it was the end of a long line of failures. There comes a point in any organisation when there have been enough warnings - when the expectations are patently clear, and when those who don't give a stuff really just need to be told to get stuffed.

    That's exactly what Arthur did. I think it was the right call.

    And the continued lack of discipline both on and off the field in the current Ashes series shows just how far gone the team was in India, and how drastic the situation had become ... but they've shot the messenger and replaced him with a "good bloke" who knows how to have fun, and - surprise, surprise - the results are no different.

  • Scott on August 20, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    @disco_bob, you do realise the3rd was a draw?

  • Android on August 20, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    feeling sorry for Arthur. he tried to keep big egos and differences in cricket Australia in check but failed. this cost him his job.india held to duncan even after 2 dismal away tours and result was 3home whitewash test series wins against nz2-0, wi 2-0, and Australia 4-0. then they won ct2013 , undefeated. two more series in Zimbabwe and triseries in wi. point is team is as good as young talent coming through the domestic competition rather than the coach.boof have little time to produce results before CA calls time and look for other options.

  • Justin on August 20, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    If he told that players that they would not be selected for the next match for not doing the homework then fair enough - thats communicating expectations and consequences. You cant make up punishments as you go along just because some people are not following your instructions. Each player should have had a fair hearing and be punished accordingly or even given the opportunity to make up for it. Preventing them for playing actually punished the 11 that took to the field as they missed some of the better players (making their job harder). It also punishes the fans who want to see the team perform. No wonder Watto lost trust and confidence in Arthur - I think there are a lot of issues that need addressing within the aus cricket management however Arthurs sacking (or rather Boofs introduction) was a step in the right direction.

  • David on August 20, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    I feel sorry for Arthur and he's obviously very bitter over the whole thing. But one of the first requirements of a coach is to be able to think on your feet, adapt to different situations, and be able handle the difficult players. Arthur's approach - with his booklets, dos, don'ts and written assignments - puts me in mind of someone managing a training day for an office sales' team.

  • disco on August 20, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @Jared Hansen on (August 20, 2013, 1:55 GMT) "... If we kept him England may have got their whitewash..." You do realise it's 3-0 at the moment?

  • Dylan on August 20, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Who cares Mickey? This is old news and we have moved on from you and looking to the future.

  • Eddie on August 20, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    Mickey and Clarke were both poor leaders. The homework saga and punishment for small infractions was ridiculous while Warner's actions were going to be covered up were it not for Watson who stood up for what was right. Unlike Clarke who is just a yes man who cares more about his tats, his image, his batting avg and his favourites. You don't have to have perfect relationships with everyone just respect and treat the equally and you will earn their respect

  • Michael on August 20, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Mickey Arthur was robbed of bringing this team back into contention for the World No 1 position because he saw fit to change Australia's poor attitude and again it seems to boil down to the attitude of some players that is costing us the Ashes. Its not that this team doesn't have the batting ability to beat the Poms....its their playing attitude, which is where Mickey Arthur struggled to change. Watson has seriously been over rated his whole career and is one of the rotten apples in this side. Clarke is another rotten apple due to the fact he was earmarked from a very early age as the future aussie captain bringing about his massive ego like Watson. Australia's team has been in decline since Steve Waugh left and thats because he was our last genuine respected Captain.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    No Ms.Cricket Arthur was not the problem, egos and a disastrous structure in Aus cricket is the problem. Carry on blaming Mickey Arthur as usual. Cowardice to face ones own weaknesses will never allow Aus Cricket to get back to the top. The Aus style that they so pride themselves on required the individual to be independent and strong in self assessment and self correction. Those values seem to have disappeared into self indulgence and the blame game. it appears the iron men have gone and cricket is the poorer for it

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