Australia sacked their coach Mickey Arthur after crashing out in the group stages of the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy earlier this month. The former South African coach has been replaced by Deccan Chargers chief Darren Lehmann, who will take in charge of the team and his first challenge will be facing England in The Ashes in their own backyard.
Many would question decision by the Cricket Australia (CA) as they face the Three Lions before the Ashes in England next month. With team going through a torrid time recently, is the timing of Arthur’s sacking the right decision taken by Australia is what one needs to answer.
The only way out for Australian cricket and their fans was the sacking of Arthur, even if many believe the timing was not right. Let’s take a look at why Arthur could have further damaged the situation if he had retained his position.
Arthur with South Africa
Arthur’s coaching record has been convincing while with South Africa as he guided them to the top of the ODI rankings in the later part of 2006 and early part of 2007. However, failure to make it to the finals of the 2007 World Cup which took place in the Caribbean saw them lose the spot for a while.
However, one can argue that Graeme Smith, one of the most decorated captains in the history of the game, was leading his side from the front on the field. At the same time, the team also included the likes of Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and many more who are still the reason for South Africa’s success.
There is a saying that whatever goes up needs to come down, and Arthur’s position and reputation with the Proteas was not an exception. South Africa’s performance started to decline at the end of 2009, and that, coupled with a poor relationship with Cricket South Africa executive Gerald Majola, saw him end his term as the coach of South Africa in January 2010.
Arthur in Australia
After ending his reign with the Proteas, Arthur made a trip Down Under and took in charge of Australia’s domestic team – Western Warriors. He took in charge in 2010, and in November the following year, he replaced Tim Nielsen in the national side.
One would say that Arthur’s time with Australian national side was a roller coaster ride,. However, it was more like a time bomb, with the clock ticking all the time and was set to explode in early 2013 after their 4-0 embarrassing Test series defeat to India. But the technical fault in the time bomb saw it explode after the poor run in the 2013 Champions Trophy.
The Australian cricketing culture is one where teammates look out for one another and always back each other up. The three-time world champions had players in the squad who were friends when John Buchanan was in charge of the team. The bonding between the players saw them enjoy the game, which in turn converted into results on the field.
However, after the arrival of Arthur, the Australian cricketing culture took a different turn as the reports suggested that “mates” in the team were almost on the verge of becoming “foes.”
After Ricky Ponting stepped down, Michael Clarke was given the responsibility to lead the team. Arthur’s style of coaching, which includes giving homework to the players, coupled with off-field issues divided the squad. The situation deteriorated when Shane Watson was dropped from one of the Test matches against India.
The off-field issues started having an impact on their performance on the pitch, which led to Australia’s poor run. The sacking of Arthur was the right decision taken by Australian board. Lehmann was the part of Australia’s golden era and he is aware how to enjoy the game and, at the same time, deliver results.
Lehmann’s appointment is likely to make the squad much happier and bring a healthier atmosphere. This should help Australia to achieve success; however, should they fail to do so, one can be convinced that Lehmann will bring a positive vibe within the squad, which would be helpful for the future of Australian cricket.