BRISTOL: Darren Lehmann was hailed as the ‘obvious choice’ after replacing the sacked Mickey Arthur as Australia head coach just 16 days before the first Ashes Test in England, following several embarrassing on and off-field incidents involving the team.
“The timing is far from ideal,” said Cricket Australia (CA) Chief Executive James Sutherland. “But we didn’t feel we could sit back and hope matters would change.
“It obviously isn’t the type of change we want to make three weeks out from the Ashes commencing, but we believe a change is needed. Arthur is a good man, he’s tried his utmost to do a good job and unfortunately, at the end of day he just hasn’t quite done that.”
Sutherland praised former Australia batsman Lehmann, who played 27 Tests, as the ‘obvious choice to replace Arthur.
“As a cricketer and a coach he has an outstanding record, he’s very highly regarded in cricket and within the Australian team,” said Sutherland of Lehmann, who was appointed on a two-year deal.
South African Arthur, the first foreign-born coach of the Australian team when appointed in November 2011, appeared to have paid the price for a 4-0 Test series loss in India, a poor Champions Trophy campaign and a lack of discipline within the team.
However, Arthur maintained he did not feel let down by his players. “The reality is when you take a job on as head coach you are responsible for the outcomes,” Arthur told reporters. “I don’t feel let down. I gave it 100%. The disappointing thing is I think we were nearly there to cracking it.”
Meanwhile, Sutherland also confirmed that Australia captain Michael Clarke, currently sidelined with a back injury, would stand down as a selector due to the coaching restructure.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2013.
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