Critics were off the mark saying Mickey Arthur was like a school principal when he axed four players in India’s homework-gate – he was more the substitute teacher who lost control of the class and didn’t have the chops to get it back. 

You can imagine his replacement Darren Lehmann would shut ‘em up with an “oi!” or a cool story from back in the day. Boof, as he’s known, has been there and done enough to earn instant respect – he’s the cool uncle to Arthur’s tweed jacket and elbow patches.

Arthur was appointed the first foreign coach of the Australian cricket team because when South Africa went to the top of the class, he had the chalk in his hand. His Proteas beat Australia for the first time in a Test series (2-1) in 2008 and cherried that 4-1 in an ODI series. They went nine series in a row without defeat. The guy can teach the test.

Sadly for him, it may be a case of right man, wrong job. Lehmann is proven as a coach for Queensland and was in the mix as the next Aussie coach long before the team flopped in the UK this month. But for the national team his manner and history, including association with the greatest team ever, will be more vital to this job –  a mission improbable in the short term but with promise. Australia with Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey retired have no one who can have a quiet word in a boorish youngster’s ear and be listened to. 

In the absence of such experience, the young side needs a Boof to guide them. Ice baths and computer analysis are great, but old school. Lehmann is all about playing games, getting into the nets and keeping the important upstairs bit happy and clear. The Australians aren’t dunces by any means.

Before the 4-0 whitewash and the winless Champions Trophy had Arthur writing lines on the plane home, Australia played South Africa in Perth to be the world’s number one-ranked Test team. They can play. But instead of being lectured and given homework, maybe they need the tough love Lehmann can bring – he has the aura that makes him a mate, mentor and disciplinarian, but good luck knowing which is which.

» Agree or disagree? Is Boof the right man for the job?

%TNT Magazine% bronco soward

Soward deserves his broncs tale

Jamie Soward and the London Broncos may not be a match made in heaven – that’s Meantime Pale and McCoy’s salt and vinegar – but it’s a good one.

Soward arrived in London last week to play out the Super League season with the Broncos because it became apparent he wouldn’t be getting a run with St George before his 2014 move to Penrith Panthers.

The timing’s uncanny, as Tony Rea’s men just lost their leader Craig Gower and are at the bottom of the table – they’re still in the Challenge Cup, though. 

Soward may have been out of favour with the Dragons, but a State of Origin half-back doesn’t forget how to put his boots on, steer a team around the park and kick on the fourth or fifth.

The Broncos faithful deserve something good out of the season, as does Soward the chance to find his mojo. He could call this a sunny holiday, minus the sun and with massive blokes trying to smash him.


Photo: Getty