The Ashes 2013-14

Haddin critical of 'insecure' Arthur

Daniel Brettig in Brisbane

November 19, 2013

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Mickey Arthur speaks to Brad Haddin at training, Adelaide Oval, January 21, 2012
Brad Haddin on Mickey Arthur: "I don't think he was secure enough in himself to get us to where we needed to go." © Getty Images
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Australia's vice-captain Brad Haddin has delivered a stinging critique of the Mickey Arthur era, saying the former coach was "very, very insecure" during his time in the job and contributed to the suffocating team atmosphere that culminated in the suspension of four players in India and his eventual sacking.

Haddin will play his 50th Test at the Gabba at the start of the Ashes series, and said the national team had now returned to firmer ground under the mentoring of Darren Lehmann, who replaced Arthur before the previous encounter with England during the northern summer. In contrast to the relaxed yet focused atmosphere he sees now, Haddin said that under Arthur the team lost track of the brand of cricket required to win.

"I think with Darren coming in, the message he's got across, the brand of cricket that we want to play, and I think you guys understand the brand that Australian cricket wanted to play and what we have forever and a day, I think that got lost in the period that Mickey had a hold of us," Haddin said. "I don't think he understood and was secure enough in himself to get us to where we needed to go, and it's actually been refreshing coming into a campaign, smiles on guys' faces enjoying the game for what it is, a great game of cricket.

"I think what Boof (Lehmann) does is he understands the game and he encourages guys to talk about the game and the bottom line is it's a game of cricket. He's a very well-respected person in cricket circles and he's a good person. The one thing he gives the group that Mickey didn't, he was very, very insecure and that came across in a lot of our selections and our play I think to be perfectly honest. Under Darren we've got a clear message of where we want to go and how we're going to get there. He's able to help guys on the way to get to that point."

Haddin's time behind the stumps for the Test team was interrupted when he flew home from the West Indies in early 2012 to be with his seriously ill daughter Mia, a period of personal struggle that allowed Matthew Wade to take his place. However Wade's injury after the second Test of the series in India had Haddin flying to the subcontinent, where he was taken aback by the scene he encountered.

"That wasn't the Australian cricket team that I knew when I flew into Mohali," Haddin said. "That was a unique situation which in all seriousness I can't really explain it. It was uncomfortable, walking into it. Guys jumping at shadows and the insecurity around everything that was being done, so just refreshing to get back here now and enjoy the game for what it is, a great game and been great for all of us."

Reinstated as the No. 1 wicketkeeper for the England tour, Haddin went within 15 runs of a stealing a memorable victory in the first Test at Trent Bridge, before claiming a world record for dismissals in a Test series. He said the team was now looking towards the Brisbane Test with plenty of resolve, having failed to nail the critical moments in the earlier battles.

"I feel things feel a lot more settled going into this campaign than the last," Haddin said. "I think we started to play the cricket we wanted at the back end of the last Ashes. I think the result was a fair indication of where everything was at. We had moments in that series where we didn't quite grab hold of and England deserved to be 3-0 up. So we've gone away and looked at things we need to improve and it's no secret we need to win those big moments so we're more settled with where we're at and where we're trying to go."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by testcric4ever on (November 20, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

Didn't rate Arthur that highly as a coach of SAF *choke*, with the WA warriors it was poor performances and ill-discipline, and, not surprisingly, at the helm of the national team much the same.

Posted by Tony_C on (November 20, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

Haddin totally ignores the fact that less than half this Australian team could be described as world class players - unlike the team of, say, 5, 10 or 15 years ago. It's just a cycle, and you can't blame the coach for that. Haddin himself is no Gilchrist or Healy, so he'd be wise to stop the blame game and concentrate on his own game!

Posted by   on (November 20, 2013, 4:21 GMT)

Aussies used to sack non-performing people aggressive than any other teams and setting a high standard, Haddin is the only exception.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (November 20, 2013, 2:56 GMT)

How about you Brad? How about leadership from you? Or have you forgotten the many dropped catches of yours and the fantastic watch as the ball goes past you school of keeping you enjoy. And cant forget your slogging, I mean batting. How many times has the national side needed you to dig in yet you throw your wicket away with a ridiculous shot? You don't even deserve to be in the team on merit. Only the vice captaincy is keeping you in the team, just like Bailey has been picked in case a captain is needed when Clarke's back goes on him.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (November 20, 2013, 2:56 GMT)

How about you Brad? How about leadership from you? Or have you forgotten the many dropped catches of yours and the fantastic watch as the ball goes past you school of keeping you enjoy. And cant forget your slogging, I mean batting. How many times has the national side needed you to dig in yet you throw your wicket away with a ridiculous shot? You don't even deserve to be in the team on merit. Only the vice captaincy is keeping you in the team, just like Bailey has been picked in case a captain is needed when Clarke's back goes on him.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (November 20, 2013, 1:20 GMT)

I recognize this team since India. They are the ones that haven't won a test.

Posted by brisCricFan on (November 20, 2013, 1:19 GMT)

@Diane Skinner; Come on Diane, just because he was the one eventually pinned to the wall doesn't automatically make him the victim...

As a batsman, Clarke's skill and ability is undeniable and history will record him highly in Australian Cricket. As an on-field tactician he has flare and shows courage and creativity in equal measure...

The people don't warm to him outside of these two roles because he does not resonate with the average bloke watching the game and from an outsiders perspective he hasn't commanded the respect from his own troops that his predecessors have seemed to have done. Now that may not be true inside the dressing room, but most never get a glimpse of that.

Clarke has come out in support of Mickey Arthur and said he felt a common bond... a man that didn't resonate with the average bloke, and didn't have support of the team around him... we seeing a picture here?

Posted by   on (November 20, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

This Australian side looks much better ... totaly different frame of mind. they are surely going to surprise us and win this test Match series .. mark my words!

Posted by   on (November 20, 2013, 0:24 GMT)

What was the Ashes scoreline again a couple of months ago? It didn't happen under Arthur, did it?

Posted by couchpundit on (November 19, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

@AamirKhan-SuperStar - do you even know what hard fought test match is.....recently ended Ashes was like England wanting to loose and Australia defying them...in that sense it was hard fought

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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