Ashes 2013: Australia appoint Darren Lehmann as head coach

Ashes 2013: Darren Lehmann is appointed as head coach of Australia after Mickey Arthur was sacked just 16 days before first Test

Harry Kemble
By Harry Kemble
australia cricket
Australia's vice-captain Brad Haddin Photo: phik/Flickr

Darren Lehmann has been named as the new coach of Australia after Mickey Arthur was sacked with the Ashes just 16 days away.

The news completes the spectacular fall of Australia’s cricket team in the space of a few months, which began with the side being thrashed 4-0 in India.

It is hoped that Lehmann, 43, who is known to have good people management skills, can instil a sense of discipline that has been severely lacking since the turn of the year.

The low point of Arthur’s 20-month reign came when he felt compelled to drop four players – Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja – for failing to complete a simple assessment exercise during the tour of India. The incident became widely-known as ‘homework-gate’.

Cricket Australia CEO, James Sutherland, said of Arthur’s sacking: “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.

“It obviously isn’t the type of change we want to make three weeks out from the Ashes commencing but we believe a change is needed.”

He continued: “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.

“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 but we didn’t feel we could sit back and hope matters would change without addressing issues critical to a high performing team culture.

“It obviously isn’t the type of change we want to make three weeks out from the Ashes commencing but we believe a change is needed.”

Lehmann, who is currently coach of Australia A, is contracted until after the 2015 World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

The former international all-rounder has built his coaching CV at Queensland, winning Bupa Sheffield Shield, Ryobi One-Day Cup and KFC T20 Big Bash League all within the last two years.

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

Meanwhile, captain Michael Clarke has stood down from his role as national selector after it was felt that the position on the five-man panel created a “conflict of interest” within the team.

The Ashes begins on 10 July at Trent Bridge and Australia will be hoping to make amends for finishing bottom of their group at this month’s Champions Trophy.

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