Mickey’s sacking reminiscent of Kim Hughes’ execution

Kersi Meher-Homji Roar Rookie

By Kersi Meher-Homji, Kersi Meher-Homji is a Roar Rookie

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    Mickey Arthur - Australian coach (Image: Cricket.com.au)

    Australia’s performance since the last year has been ordinary. In 2013 it has been calamitous. Losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 0-4 to India in India was followed by Australia not winning a game in the just concluded Champions Trophy.

    Heads had to roll. But was it wise to sack the coach just 16 days before the all important first Ashes Test? Players have not performed and someone had to be blamed. But is coach Mickey Arthur the only guilty party?

    When he tried to discipline his players in India for their “who cares” attitude by giving them self analysis tests to improve their attitude, he was ridiculed for being a headmaster who treated Test cricketers like lazy students.

    Now he is blamed for not acting like a headmaster and allowing players including David Warner to be at a pub in early hours of the morning.

    For him, to be a headmaster was a sin. And not being one: a greater sin. It is the duty of the team manager and not a coach to supervise players’ nightly forays.

    Changing a coach mid-tour will do more harm than good. He could have been diplomatically removed before the tour to England started rather than a fortnight before the first Ashes Test.

    England’s captain Alastair Cook will be delighted at this development while Ian Botham, wherever he resides, is possibly dancing with joy.

    This instant sacking reminds one of former Australian Test captain Kim Hughes’ tearful farewell as Australia’s skipper midway through the series against Clive Lloyd’s all-conquering West Indians in 1984-85.

    It was after Australia’s eight wicket defeat by the Windies in the Brisbane Test in November 1984. But before we condemn Hughes, just look at the visitors’ team in batting order:

    Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Richie Richardson, Vivian Richards, Clive Lloyd, Larry Gomes, Jeff Dujon, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Courtney Walsh.

    That team would have given any team a hiding. The only XI which could have stood up to them would be Don Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles.

    Going back to 1984-85, Australia under Allan Border lost the next Test in Adelaide by 191 runs.

    So changing a leader (captain or coach) mid-stream is not a magic cure.The Indian team which whitewashed Australia under Michael Clarke a few months ago was nowhere near Lloyd’s killer combination, but changes have to be made before a tour commences and not midway.

    The selectors have also to take some blame as indeed the players, who without Michael Clarke, performed like headless chooks in the Champions Trophy.

    Was selecting George Bailey as captain of the Australian ODI team in absence of Clarke wise? Brad Haddin is an experienced campaigner and a canny leader. He is in England as vice-captain to Clarke.

    Why was he ignored and Bailey thrust as captain. Haddin would have provided stability rather than a new cap like Bailey.

    Anyway, good luck to Darren Lehmann.

    Now the ball is in your court, Roarers.

    Kersi Meher-Homji
    Kersi Meher-Homji

    Kersi is an author of 13 cricket books including The Waugh Twins, Cricket's Great All-rounders,Six Appeal and Nervous Nineties. He writes regularly for Inside Cricket and other publications. He has recently finished his new book on Cricket's Conflicts and Controversies, with a foreword by Greg Chappell.

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    The Crowd Says (48)

    • June 25th 2013 @ 6:26am
      Red Kev said | June 25th 2013 @ 6:26am | ! Report

      Nothing to judge them on until the first test. Arthur’s issue was that he wanted to be Mr Nice Guy and suddenly snapped the discipline stick, then put it away again. His approach was simply not working.
      I am hoping Lehmann uses his clout to keep Warner and Watson out of the XI, no all rounder will be a big style change.

    • Roar Guru

      June 25th 2013 @ 8:08am
      JGK said | June 25th 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      ” By Kersi Meher-Homjio, 25 Jun 2013 ”

      Looks like our Kersi has an Italian cousin.

      • June 25th 2013 @ 10:05am
        Kersi Meher-Homji said | June 25th 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

        It’s all fixed, Jasono, I mean JGK.
        Hope Australia’s problems are fixed just as quickly!
        Kersio!

    • June 25th 2013 @ 9:21am
      Christo the Daddyo said | June 25th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      The good thing about bringing Lehmann into the role is that he isn’t a complete new face. He’s been with the A team (and doing very well by all accounts) and know all the players well.

      I wonder whether there’s been any thought to giving the captaincy to Haddin? He’s closer in style to Lehmann, respected by his team-mates and highly experienced. Clarke would still be able to contribute in the on-field tactics, but the pressure being lifted might assist him in concentrating on healing his back as much as possible and get his batting to its peak.

      Just thought I’d throw it out there…

    • June 25th 2013 @ 9:53am
      Chairman Kaga said | June 25th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Since when has cricket coaches been so important?

      Do not understand the need for them at test cricket level.

    • June 25th 2013 @ 11:15am
      Atawhai Drive said | June 25th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

      Hughes was not executed, he stood down voluntarily. That may well have been ahead of the axe, although his decision and the tearful announcement of it came as a shock.

      Kersi makes the point that no team in the world could come anywhere near the West Indies in 1984, as new captain Allan Border quickly found out.

      The gap between Australia and England in 2013 does not seem as wide. The appointment of Darren Lehmann looks to be a step in the right direction, but it’s up to the players, especially the batsmen, to show they can compete at Test level.

    • June 25th 2013 @ 11:22am
      rl said | June 25th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      Botham cn sympathise – he was removed from the captaincy mid-tour, and that worked wonders for him and the Poms.

      Gotta say, regardless of his motivation or what you might think of him, pretty classy effort by Mickey to front up to his own execution and say all the right things. Part of his separation package?

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