Mickey Arthur was right to criticise culture

Matt Lengren Roar Pro

By Matt Lengren, Matt Lengren is a Roar Pro

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    You got sacked Mickey, get over it. (Image: AFP / William West)

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    Mickey Arthur’s recent rant has polarised Australian sports opinion but the ex-coach was completely within his rights to shed light on why the Australian cricket team has been so below-par in recent times.

    There have been many theories thrown around to try to explain the phenomenon that is a beatable Australian XI but, in my opinion, Mickey has hit the nail on the head.

    The team consists mainly of Gen-Y students of the Big Bash School of cricket. Wind the clock back 10 years and name a player who was given more than one chance without first establishing themselves in first class cricket.

    Now bring yourself back to the present day and look at the two best batsmen in the current team: Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers.

    Michael Clarke has scored 17 first class tons and 18 50s; Chris Rogers has scored 60 first class tons and 91 first class 50s.

    To put that in perspective, the top five – excluding the aforementioned Clarke and Rogers – has scored 31 first class tons.

    I know Chris Rogers has plied his trade for umpteen years and is only now getting the chance to prove himself as an elite cricketer but those stats alarm me.

    Phil Hughes’ T20 average is higher than his Test average.

    Shane Watson’s ODI average is higher than his Test average – the latter format in which he’s only converted twice in 20 scores higher than fifty.

    Arthur slammed the current line-up over their over inflated egos and exaggerated contracts. I totally agree and am of the belief that hard yakka in Sheffield Shield will alleviate the problem.

    Picking players on their flashy highlights and plucked-from-nowhere captain in waiting qualities is no way to build and maintain a successful Test cricket team.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • August 21st 2013 @ 7:13am
      James the Elder said | August 21st 2013 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Rant? I love the Aussie way with hyperbole. I remember reading headlines like Australia thrash xxxx etc. Only to find out they won in the final few minutes by 2 points or something like that! Arthur was not ‘ranting” . He is a calm and open man with his comments – part of the reason why he is generally well liked by all he meet him.

      • Roar Pro

        August 21st 2013 @ 9:53am
        Matt Lengren said | August 21st 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        I neglected to put inverted commas before and after rant.

        • August 21st 2013 @ 4:47pm
          James the Elder said | August 21st 2013 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

          Accepted.No harm done. I note that my typing was none too good either!

    • August 21st 2013 @ 7:46am
      Johnno said | August 21st 2013 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      Matt Hayden got all fired up about Micky Arthur. But what to do you know, the old boys club won, they put off in who is one of the old boys club. They got there man.

      • August 21st 2013 @ 4:54pm
        James the Elder said | August 21st 2013 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

        Johnno, the Saffers are many things but they are fantastic, kind and gracious hosts. I have many, many friends there and they are all less than complimentary about Mr Hayden who speaks some of the weirdest tripe ever seen in print. But then one of his old boy mates once managed to write a lengthy article on the modern batting greats – and never mentioned Kallis once! Who was he? Why none other than that other bundle of friendly bonhomie, IAN CHAPPELL – still bearing his grudge from scoring less than 30 runs in those 4 tests he starred in when they were humiliated by the Boks in 71. And he never rated those fast bowlers either. Just backed away to point and coughed up dolly catches. Was he scared? No way! Just deciding on what shot to play. And who was to blame? Why Bill Lawrey of course. Never Ian.

    • August 21st 2013 @ 10:09am
      Matt said | August 21st 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

      Fair comments, but I think you’ll find Pup has scored a lot more han 17 first class tons if he has scored 24 in Tests, which count as First Class matches.

      • Roar Pro

        August 21st 2013 @ 11:57am
        Matt Lengren said | August 21st 2013 @ 11:57am | ! Report

        The above stats are first class excluding tests.

    • August 21st 2013 @ 10:13am
      Tim said | August 21st 2013 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      I agree that Mickey’s comments highlighted a culture problem within the team that needed to be addressed. But at the same time, his comments also demonstrated why he was the wrong person to lead this change. His approach to making sure that every person was aware of the expectations of being a member of the Australian test team was to give everyone a “booklet”. No wonder the homework fiasco was soon to follow.
      Lovely guy, but just the wrong person to lead the required culture change – Lehmann is much better suited because he deals with every issue head-on (not via booklets and homework assignments).

      • August 21st 2013 @ 11:15am
        Johnno said | August 21st 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        No Boof is just part of the old boys club he is one of them, that’s why he is seen as better suited, more anointed by the australian cricket old boys club who run OZ cricket.

        • August 21st 2013 @ 12:15pm
          Bayman said | August 21st 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report


          With due respect, it might also be that Lehmann is simply better suited to the job. Mickey Arthur can talk all he likes about the culture of the team, and the division provided by Watson, but Arthur was part of the group whose job it was to put that right. And he failed magnificently.

          Mickey is a lovely fellow but he’s not, necessarily, a leader of men. Lehmann is old school, definitely. But that also means he won’t put up with prima donnas and those who think they are entitled. Expectations will be made clear, failure to meet them made even clearer.

          If the bus is scheduled to leave at 9:30am then you can be sure the bus will leave then whether player ‘X’ is on it or not. And he will cop shite from Lehmann if he’s not on it. Arthur said in India that ‘homeworkgate’ was the last straw for those players. It was the end result of an accumulation of indiscretions. As Damien Fleming pointed out, why didn’t Arthur jump all over these guys at the first ‘failure to comply’, then, perhaps, the rest would not have happened.

          He tried to be nice and the players took advantage for his trouble. The end result – Mickey got fired. Lehmann will not make that mistake and some players will have a limited future in the Australian team as a result. You can call it the ‘old boys club’ but I reckon this is best appointment since Bob Simpson.

          • August 21st 2013 @ 2:36pm
            Johnno said | August 21st 2013 @ 2:36pm | ! Report


            Boof has more in common with this lot. He is aussy, played cricket for Australia, is an ex-teammate of pup’s.
            So Boof is not original, in fact he is mainstream and yes “old boys club”. John Buccanhan was slightly different.
            He didn’t play test cricket, was a good 1st grade player but along way from test standard.
            But Buck never got beat 3-0 or behind 3-0 in a series. Buck was the one who handed out those defeats, but Boof is struggling 3-0 down. Im not sure that is a leader of men, down 3-0 despite him being old school, and part of the oldboys club.
            Jake White and Guss Huddink are foreigners and both got the best of Australian way of life.

            • August 21st 2013 @ 4:23pm
              Tim said | August 21st 2013 @ 4:23pm | ! Report


              Boof is no miracle worker, and may not even be a great coach for that matter. But as an interim coach, his first priority was to fix the team culture and a straight talking approach seems to have worked with these spoilt gen Y/X players – there has been no in fighting or dissent as an excuse this time around – just poor form and there are no excuses for that.
              Mickey was not the wrong man because he was a foreigner – he was just too nice and not assertive enough. Also, once you have lost respect and trust it is much harder to rebuild it.
              You can bet Jake White doesn’t take any crap from the Brumbies – and he doesn’t make them fill in “wellness forms” and read “booklets” either.
              Hard to judge Buck as a coach – because he had a team with 700 wicket taking Warne (who hated him by the way) and 560 wicket taking McGrath backed up by a very strong batting line-up (with Gilchrist at no. 7).
              I have a soft spot for him because he led QLD to its maiden Shield victory, but he has had far less success in stint with the IPL and more recently a troubled posting with NZ cricket. So at best, his midas touch seems to have faded..

              • August 21st 2013 @ 5:04pm
                James the Elder said | August 21st 2013 @ 5:04pm | ! Report

                Buck used to give them plenty of articles to read and discuss. That’s one of the reasons why Warne hated him. The articles did not have enough pictures. Buck was very similar in many ways to Mickey.
                You seem to forget that Arthur had very tough characters in the SA teams he coached. No push overs. But it appears they were a more mature bunch than our sorry lot. That is where Arthur was the wrong choice. They chose a High School Teacher when they needed a kindy one.

              • August 21st 2013 @ 6:51pm
                Johnno said | August 21st 2013 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                Exactly boof is a bogan he is on there level. He freely admits he likes a drink and a smoke, was not into the gym sessions is old school. And he said Dave warner he sees a lot of him in himself when he was that age. Working class lad rough around the edges. Well you pseudo bogan/metro dressing room ,you got what you wanted – : You got Boof. And you brogans , slash clowns are now 3-0 down.
                While the cultured and refined Micky has now taken up a full time job as Director of Cricket, at a elite posh private school. More to Mickey’s cultured and eloquent tastes, unlike old Boof the bogan.
                And you know what Boof is staring down a 4-0 ASHES defeat something i don’t think has happened ever or in 133 years. You got what you wanted, you got meat pies, a drink, a smoke, Boof from the working class suburbs of Adelaide. A bloke who despite living in Adelaide turned down the academy preferring to just train with his local club mates, a spot any aussy kids would die for, but not boof he just wanted to play with his mates at the club.

                Well Boof no wonder you didn’t play test cricket until you were 28 mate.

              • August 22nd 2013 @ 1:38pm
                Bayman said | August 22nd 2013 @ 1:38pm | ! Report


                Let’s no forget that Mickey Arthur was sacked as South Africa’s coach and largely because the players and captain had lost respect for him – much like what happened with this Australian team.

                He’s a good fellow, a very nice guy to talk to but he allowed the team to drift away from him. He’s the only one to blame for that.

            • August 22nd 2013 @ 1:33pm
              Bayman said | August 22nd 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report


              Buchanan had arguably one of the greatest teams ever at his disposal. To even hint that those results were down to “Buck” rather than the talent of the captain and team is ludicrous. Timing is everything and Buchanan definitely had timing on his side. His tenure in New Zealand has been less than stellar.

              Lehmann has inherited team which has several issues, all of which ‘cultured and refined’ Mickey failed to address and resolve. For his trouble, he got sacked. Lehmann has already made some serious inroads into fixing those ‘cultural’ problems within the team. Lehmann currently has the team he was given but next summer, I suspect, he’ll have the team he wants – on and off the field.

              Don’t forget, ‘C&R’ Mickey went down 4-0 in India – the first Australian ever to lose 4-0 (and in a four Test series to boot). Mickey lost the players because he was too soft with them and they started to take advantage. It’s human nature. Lehmann understands he’s not their mate, he’s their coach.

              • August 23rd 2013 @ 9:26pm
                Hutch said | August 23rd 2013 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

                Not sure why the loss in India is such a bitter pill to swallow …. Aus have not won a test in India since 2004 and have lost the previous 2 series they have played in India

                – Lost 2 – 0 in 08/09 (4 test series)
                – Lost 2 – 0 in 10/11 (2 match series, if they’d played 4 they could very easily have lost all 4)

                – Aus last won a series in India in 2004 with the previous series victory in India being in 1969.
                – Not won a test in the previous 7 tests played in India.
                – Aus have won 12 Tests in India in total

                Winning a match on this most recent tour with that squad would have been a miracle and their isnt a coach on the planet that could have prevented a series loss !! While the nature of the defeats were humiliating, India were out for revenge for the drubbing they took when they were last in Aus and prepared wickets on which Aus never had a chance.

              • August 23rd 2013 @ 9:50pm
                Hutch said | August 23rd 2013 @ 9:50pm | ! Report

                I don’t think Mickey is arguing that he that lost the players and lets be honest you could probably narrow the number of players he “lost” to 2 individuals who didn’t like the existing status quo being shaken up.

                His point is that he didn’t get the support or backing of his employers, the same board that decided to appoint a foreigner coach and empower him to make such decisions turned there back on him in the face of pressure from the “old boys” and he is saying that until CA is prepared to take the tough decisions and commit to them without reacting or kowtowing to “old boys club”. the majority of whom arel very quick to criticize but very reluctant to roll up their sleaves and help address the issues. It is going to be very difficult for a coach to turn things around if he has to do it alone.

                I also think that your comment that he was to soft is off the mark, he isn’t a schoolmaster and the Captain should be playing a role in player discipline at the end of the day a coach isn’t out on the field with his team for 5 days its the Cpt that needs to earn and have the players respect first and foremost (whether Clarke has the backing and support of the entire dressing room is another debate) I would imagine Steve Waugh could have asked Shane Watson and co to knit him a beanie ahead of a team meeting without the coach having to get involved.

                In Lehman the players have got what they want an “old boy” who is going to provide an familiar environment and leadership style to that which they are accustom … is it going to move the team forward and turn into results well that is still subject to a very large QUESTION MARK

    • August 21st 2013 @ 10:42am
      Pope Paul VII said | August 21st 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      Who are these ego maniacs? Hughes,Khawaja? He punted them early in his reign. Watto was injured half the time.

    • August 21st 2013 @ 10:59am
      Gr8rWeStr said | August 21st 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      I agree that doing some ‘hard yakka in Sheffield Shield’, and County cricket, will toughen up the current Australian batting line up. The high proportion of young ‘talent identification pathway’ batsmen fast tracked into the Australian side before they ‘know’ their games continues to show in, generally, poor performances.

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