Bristol (UK), June 24 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) has sacked national coach Mickey Arthur weeks before the first Ashes Test begins at Nottingham July 10. Former Australia all-rounder Darren Lehmann has been named the new coach.
Arthur was appointed in November 2011 and during his tenure Australia won 10 of 19 Tests, 18 of 39 ODIs and seven of 16 T20s.
CA CEO James Sutherland said removing Arthur from the post right before the Ashes was a difficult decision.
"This has been a difficult decision to make but one that we feel is necessary. 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," Sutherland said here Monday.
"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," he said.
"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."
Sutehrland said, "While it was clearly a very difficult decision, we take this moment to acknowledge Mickey's passion and commitment to Australian cricket and the Australian cricket team and thank him for all his hard work and efforts."
Arthur was disappointed with CA's move.
"Naturally, I'm very disappointed with how this has all ended. 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," said the South African.
"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.
On Lehmann's appointment, Sutherland said: "Darren Lehmann has had outstanding success in a short time with Queensland Cricket winning the Bupa Sheffield Shield, Ryobi One-Day Cup and KFC T20 Big Bash League all within the last two years. He will be contracted until June 2016."
"The Board considered him the outstanding candidate to drive the performance improvement the team needs and to take it to the number one ranking in all formats of the game. No-one is underestimating the task at hand but we believe he is the right man for the job. It is up to the players to respond under his leadership and demonstrate their commitment to a successful Australian team."
At the same time, captain Michael Clarke has stepped down as a selector of the team.
"Michael first approached Pat Howard in April after the recent Indian series and requested to stand down as a selector so that he could focus on his team's and his own preparation to play international cricket. This change will allow Michael to focus his primary responsibilities as a player and as captain," Sutherland said.