Australia news June 24, 2013

Mickey Arthur sacked as Australia's coach


Mickey Arthur has been sacked as Australia's head coach less than three weeks before the start of the Investec Ashes and is expected to be replaced by Darren Lehmann. Cricket Australia is yet to officially announce the decision but the chief executive James Sutherland and general manager of team performance Pat Howard are due to hold a press conference in Bristol on Monday morning (UK time) to confirm the move.

It has also been reported that the captain Michael Clarke will relinquish his role as a selector as part of the change in structure that will be announced by Sutherland and Howard. Whether Lehmann would remain a selector is unclear.

Lehmann, who is in England having just finished a tour as the mentor of Australia A, has won rave reviews for the somewhat old-school approach he has taken with Queensland since he was appointed in 2011 and is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in Australian cricket.

But whatever the case, the axing of Arthur so close to the first Ashes Test, which begins on July 10, has left the Australian camp in a state of disarray. The squad was due to meet in Taunton on Monday ahead of their first tour game against Somerset, with some of the players having been part of the Australia A squad, some having been playing in the Champions Trophy and others having been warming up in county cricket.

The team will need to quickly become accustomed to the absence of Arthur, who was named head coach in November 2011. He replaced Tim Nielsen and the move came in the wake of the Argus Report into Australia's team performance, which was commissioned after Australia's thrashing at the hands of England in the home Ashes in 2010-11.

During Arthur's time in charge, Australia won 10 of their 19 Tests but the past few months had been especially challenging both on field and off it. The calamitous 4-0 defeat in India was overshadowed by the so-called homework sackings halfway through the trip, in which Arthur, captain Michael Clarke and team manager Gavin Dovey stood four players down for a Test for failing to complete an off-field task.

The Champions Trophy campaign, in which Australia failed to win a match, was also dominated by events away from the game, when David Warner punched England batsman Joe Root in a pub. Warner was suspended until the first Ashes Test but the incident raised questions about why a group of Australia players were out until the early hours of the morning following a loss.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    I for one wd think it is a better-late-than-never move. If Indian tour debacle was not an eye opener the CT performance must have come as a point of no return for CA. Atm, Australia does not look anywhere near making even a contest out of the Ashes series in England and so the timing of sacking Micky Arthur is okay. Sacking implies wrong selection in the first place. That CA has acted atleast now is redeeming in itself. Yet what ails cricket in Australia is lack of talent (ot its spotting) and the cultural styles which go with a consistent champion. Dominance comes at a cost. Talent can deliver it only when it is aligned to other things like an overwhelming obsession to dominate, team spirit, sacrificing other things at altar of the pursuit of the goal etc. It is not just cricketing skills and coaching that is needed. A leader who can fire the team with the ambition and provide direction is needed. I am not aware who in Australia is the best fit for that job. Hope Lehmann is.

  • stuart on June 25, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    So do the players have any role in this one? I mean it is them that keep losing or is that just the coaches fault?

  • Dummy4 on June 25, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    My way or Highway strategy never works.....................players are not slaves they are artists.

  • Parthiban on June 24, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    Never been a fan of Mickey Arthur. Nevertheless, I feel sorry for him at the moment. I guess the whole thing can be handled in a rather less acrimonious way. He should have stood down soon after India. I would say he was rather naive to have seen this coming. I wish him all the best for his future.

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    so sad and the decision is taken at wrong stage of an important series. It is player who are responsible for the performance not the coach. Anyhow the decision is taken may be a change might give Aussies little luck to beat England in this Ashes.

  • Alex on June 24, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    I think michael clarke has to be removed from captaincy is best solution. Because he is their best batsman. And he constantly thinking about team unity instead of his batting. Clarke lacks leadership skills but good captaincy skills. So i prefer mellow captain for aussie team who ever that may be but he needs to be permanent member of the team. Aussie team was disbanded like 6 years ago when hayden retired , gilchrist retired. Fast forward still not a single permanent player in Aussie team. So for me aussie selectors and ceo laid egg. They are the first ones has to go , then captain , then coach. Order is in reverse. :)

    Aussie needs skilled batsman. But they chopping and changing so much and destroying confidence of young players. Bowling wise ausssies are ok. Its batting that is the problem due illogical selection moves by captain,coach and selectors. where is new young blood? aussie need to bring few 19 year old batsman with lots of hunger and enthusiasm.

  • Bloody on June 24, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    One things for sure. Usman Khawaja will play in the first test.

  • Anand on June 24, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    So guess even the OZs dont reckon that they have the best bowling attack? Mickey was a distraction, they should have done this right after Ind tour, before he opened his mouth at the press conference stating that conditions in Eng will be so different from the subcontinent. Anyone see how much the ball is turning. They need to rope in the legend SKW. If not India please do that!

  • BRAD on June 24, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    It's a good move by CA. When team is not getting results, whats the point of keeping to the same coach. I think PCB should learn a lesson too from this. Watmore has unable to deliver any goods for Pak team and it seems like we need a coach who can communicate better with players and person who has good decision making abilities..Some of the decisions taken by the team management weren't good. For instance dropping Irfan from the 1st test at Wanderes, sending back Ahmed Shazad after good showing in T20 games in SA, and team selection for CT to name a few.

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Extremely Brave Call by Cricket Australia. But a much needed one is my view. Australia's cricket has been going downhill for a while. From a team which seemed invincible to a team of fighters to now a team which just seems to lack the spark and class of the teams of the 90s. Its a tough task to replace and create a team of the caliber they had but the way their performance graph has nose dived does call for some tough calls.

    I hope they don't judge Lehmann on the basis of this one Ashes. His performances as a coach have been special by all accounts. However any coach needs some time and I hope Cricket Australia give Lehmann enough time to prove his mettle. A few questions down the line on the production line which seems to have stopped producing enough world class talent on a regular basis are also in place.

    The cricketing world needs a strong Australia - they're going through a tough part of the rebuilding cycle and lets hope they turn it around soon.