Ashes 2013: Australia coach Mickey Arthur shocked by sacking

Cricket Australia explain Arthur sacking

Mickey Arthur has told BBC Sport he is shocked to be sacked as Australia coach just 16 days before the start of the Ashes series against England.

The South African, 45, faced criticism following poor performances and disciplinary issues within the camp.

He has been replaced with immediate effect by Australia A coach Darren Lehmann.

"It was a shock, yes. It was a surprise, but that's the world we live in," Arthur told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I certainly don't want to start pointing fingers. The buck stops with me, and I was very clearly aware of that.

"I've got to set the standards. If things go wrong on your watch, you certainly pay the price. It's a tough pill to swallow but that's ultimately what I signed up for.

"I think we've got a wonderful young group of cricketers, who are still learning their trade and they will be very inconsistent for a while yet, but there are some very good young players.

"My relationship with the players was outstanding. I thought we were very close to getting it right.

"If the players perform I honestly don't see why they can't win the Ashes."

BBC Sport's Alison Mitchell spoke with Arthur, who succeeded Tim Nielsen in 2011, earlier on Monday. She added: "It came as a bit of a bolt from the blue.

"Arthur was told just last night that he was out a of a job and he feels somewhat let down by Cricket Australia and a bit of a fall guy."

Lehmann played 27 Tests and 117 one-day internationals for Australia between 1996 and 2005.

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, said on Twitterexternal-link that his former Yorkshire team-mate Lehmann "will get them right".

The first Test against England starts on 10 July at Trent Bridge but Australia face two four-day warm-up matches beforehand.

The first is against Somerset, starting on Wednesday, 26 June and is followed by a game against Worcestershire from Tuesday, 2 July.

Arthur coached Australia to 10 wins and six defeats in 19 Test matches.

The latter stages of Arthur's tenure were beset by problems on and off the field.

In March 2013, four players - vice-captain Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja - were dropped for the third Test of the tour to India for failing to submit presentations on team strategy.

All-rounder Watson returned to captain the side for the fourth Test in place of the injured Michael Clarke, but defeat in Delhi saw Australia lose the series 4-0.

In May, opening batsman David Warner was fined £3,700 (AU $5,750) for posting abusive comments to journalists on his Twitter account.

Warner was later suspended until the first Ashes Test, and fined £7,000 (AU $11,500), for punching England's Joe Root in a bar following Australia's defeat to England in the Champions Trophy.

Another loss in the third and final group game against Sri Lanka ensured that Australia finished bottom of their group in the Champions Trophy.

Arthur hit 13 first-class centuries in a 15-year playing career with Griqualand West and Orange Free State, before moving into coaching following his retirement in 2001.

He was in charge of South Africa from 2005 to 2010, leading them to a first series victory in England for 43 years and a maiden series win in Australia.

Following a fall-out with the national board, Arthur quit the post in January 2010 and later coached Western Australia.

Despite Australia's recent on-field problems, Arthur recently claimed that his side had "the best bowling attack in the world", and would put England under pressure in the Ashes.

"England are a very good cricket side but I would like to see how they handle pressure for a sustained period of time," he told Test Match Special.

"I honestly believe we can win the Ashes - we have the best all-round bowling attack in world cricket."


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