Lehmann In As Australia Sack Mickey Arthur

With a matter of weeks remaining until they meet England in the first Ashes Test, Cricket Australia have sacked head coach Mickey Arthur and replaced him with Darren Lehmann.

South African Arthur, who was appointed in November 2011, has paid the penalty for a series of disappointing results and several off-field issues.

A 4-0 Test series defeat in India was followed up with a first-round exit at the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. During the tour of India, four players including then-vice-captain Shane Watson were suspended following breaches of discipline while David Warner has twice breached the CA Code of Behaviour this year.

Captain Michael Clarke has also stepped down as a selector to allow him to focus on his playing role with the team.

Lehmann, who played 27 Tests and 117 One-Day Internationals for Australia, has enjoyed success as coach of Queensland while he also spent time with the Deccan Chargers following his retirement from playing in 2008.

"This has been a difficult decision to make but one that we feel is necessary," CA Chief Executive James Sutherland explained.

"We are looking to establish a high performing Australian cricket team that is consistent over a period of time. To achieve that, we need all the parts moving in the right direction. Recent on-field results have been too inconsistent.

"Discipline, consistency of behaviour and accountability for performance are all key ingredients that need to improve. And we see that the head coach is ultimately responsible for that.

"The Cricket Australia Board decided yesterday that Mickey Arthur should not continue as head coach of the Australian cricket team.  In taking this decision, the Board accepted the recommendation to make an immediate change as being in the best interests of the team.

"The timing is far from ideal less than three weeks out from an Ashes series, but we didn’t feel we could sit back and hope things would change. We had to tackle the critical issues that go to the heart of a high performing team environment. We firmly believe that the decisions made will be for the best."

During his time in charge of the side, Arthur led the side to 10 wins in 19 Tests, 18 wins in 39 ODIs and seven wins in 16 Twenty20 Internationals.

"Naturally I’m very disappointed with how this has all ended," he said. "I certainly wanted to see the job through but I accept that the team hasn’t been completely galvanised under my leadership and our performances have been inconsistent.

"I’m certainly a believer in good culture and traditions much like all Australians and feel we were starting to get a shift in the right direction. We certainly need the team to be absolutely unified if we’re any chance of beating the English.

"I will take some time out with family and friends and reflect on this and hope to continue my career in cricket coaching.  I am passionate about it and, like all Australians, I want to see us succeed on and off the field.  

"It has been a very challenging 18 months and I think the future is bright for Australian cricket.  I have built some wonderful relationships over the period and I genuinely care about the team and wish them all the best in the upcoming series."

Australia take on Somerset and Worcestershire in tour maches before the opening Test at Trent Bridge gets underway on 10th July.

© Cricket World 2013