Cricket Australia ceo James Sutherland told a press conference today that the decision to axe Arthur after two year was “difficult” but “one that we feel is necessary”.
“The timing is far from ideal but we didn’t feel we could sit back and hope matters would change without addressing issues critical to a high-performing team culture,” Sutherland said.
“Recent on-field results have been too inconsistent. Discipline, consistency of behaviour and accountability for performance are all key ingredients that need to improve. 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.”
Arthur was told of the decision last night after Australia finished bottom of their pool in the ICC Champions Trophy and following a string of off-field incidents.
Former Test and one-day batsman Lehmann has had a glittering career already as a coach of Queensland, Brisbane Heat and in the IPL.
He knows English conditions well after captaining Yorkshire in 2002 having won the County Championship in 2001.
Sutherland said the man affectionately known as ‘Boof’ is “the right man for the job”.
“As a cricketer and a coach he has an outstanding record, he’s very highly regarded in cricket and within the Australian team,” Sutherland said.
“It is up to the players to respond under his leadership and demonstrate their commitment to a successful Australian team.”
Lehmann said: “It’s a challenge for all of the playing group. I’m excited by the challenge, looking forward to working with captain Michael Clarke and the team, and seeing them enjoy some success on this tour.”
Arthur said he was disappointed at the premature end of his tenure, which was supposed to last until the World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand.
“Naturally I’m very disappointed with how this has all ended,” Arthur 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.
“We need the team to be absolutely unified if we’re any chance of beating the English.
“I do not feel let down by the players at all. You live and die by the sword. The disappointing thing is that I thought we were nearly there to cracking it.
“It has been a very challenging 18 months and I think the future is bright for Australian cricket.”
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