The Investec Ashes 2013

Arthur leaks 'meaningless' to team - Sutherland

Daniel Brettig at Lord's

July 18, 2013

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James Sutherland and Pat Howard announce the sacking of Mickey Arthur, Bristol, June 24, 2013
James Sutherland was in England last month to announce the sacking of Mickey Arthur, but he has returned to see a happier squad © AFP

James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, has declared the public airing of the former coach Mickey Arthur's dirty laundry on the national team "meaningless" after checking in on the revitalised tourists three weeks since he left them in the hands of Darren Lehmann in Bristol. Sutherland also said David Warner still needed to prove himself by his actions rather than words after completing his suspension for punching Joe Root.

Catching up with Australia's Ashes squad over a series of morning coffees at the team hotel in London on Wednesday, Sutherland could barely recognise them. Gone was the tension and worry that wracked the team during Mickey Arthur's final days, replaced instead by optimism, unity and energy. Sutherland also mingled with the players and coaches as they trained at Lord's on the eve of the second Test, and said the team was galvanised.

"I left the team three weeks ago. I had been back in Australia. I spent the morning catching up with everyone around the hotel and it's a different place, it's a different team and I'm really excited about the place this team is in," Sutherland said. "What I've seen in the last few days [regarding Arthur] I think 'so what'? It doesn't mean anything right now.

"It's not just the team environment talking about one or two relationships. I'm talking about the whole team environment. We've got a team that's galvanised and very, very focused and it showed in their performances I think at Nottingham and will hopefully continue to show for the rest of this series. You can see it in the way they're moving around the hotel, you can see the way they're moving around the ground.

"I know that by observation but I also know that by talking to people around the team this morning. The first thing I wanted to do when I got in was talk to people who I had spoken to three weeks ago. I'm not going to say who they were but you wouldn't have to be too smart to work out the people I've caught up with. The team is in a really good place. It's exciting for Australian cricket and I think it's starting to show on the field."

While understandably reluctant to go into the finer details of the Arthur legal battle that has now become a decidedly public affair despite being lodged confidentially with the Fair Work Commission in Sydney, Sutherland said CA were "very comfortable with our legal position". He also deflected questions about whether or not he could have done more to avoid the matter being dragged through the courts.

"It's easy for you to say that, and it's easy for you to say that and write that when I don't have a line of defence," he said. "All I ask is that you be a little bit sensitive to the fact that I can't come back at you because of the position I'm in right now with legal proceedings pending or whatever. I'd like to tell you you're wrong but I'm not going to get drawn into that right now because I can't."

As for Warner, whose attack on Root he had described as "despicable", Sutherland underlined his desire to see promising words backed up by action over a long period. "I had a couple of conversations and he's said he's remorseful," Sutherland said. "I've said at the same time that it's great to show remorse.

"What you have to do is back it up with actions and you don't back it up with actions over a couple of weeks, you need to back it up with actions for a couple of years and that's what we're looking for from him. We'll back him 100%. He's done the crime, he's done his time. He's got to fight his way back. We all want him to success. We'll all support him in whatever way we can to fight back but he's got to back that remorse up by his actions and be true to what he said."

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

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Posted by leighsydneychina on (July 19, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

"I left the team three weeks ago. I had been back in Australia"... and now the team is fine.... See Sutherland, YOU need to stay away! Not for 3 weeks, but forever. You have shown your inability to handle this, or any other situation. Really, you are NOT the right man for the job. As you say with Warner, you have to prove yourself by actions rather than words. YOU crucified Arthur by neglect and stabbed him in the back when YOU did not back him up with the likes of Warner and Watson.

Your 2 faced actions completely undermined the coach's role. Now you come and display your vanity in the (possible) recovery of an average team. You have your current coach in Lehmann, who is a very good coach. BUT you appointed the previous coach also, who is also a very good coach. CA are playing this "death by media" game with Arthur and it shows exactly the calibre of CA in doing this. Pay him what you owe him. For once, be a man.... Or at least show the kind of respect YOU demand..

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 18, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

Well, with England currently 40/3, you'd think the effect hasn't pervaded to test/on field performance, but who really knows...

However, the Arthur sacking has been entirely justified, there truly has been no signs of division/oppression (yes oppression) under Boof's coaching. Boof has encouraged the players to believe in themselves, be confident and play with freedom, resultantly, division has turned to unity; not any of these Boof inspired qualities were there under Arthur. Regardless of the disclosing of the Arthur allegations and the triviality of it, these new qualities will make the whole controversy irrelevant imo

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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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