Ashes win justifies Mickey Arthur sacking – Cricket Australia chief

2013-12-18 08:36

Sydney – Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has said Australia’s comprehensive Ashes victory justified the decision to sack Mickey Arthur as coach, hailing the team’s new mindset.

South African Arthur was fired just 16 days before the start of the Ashes in England earlier this year after a shambolic Test series in India that Australia lost 4-0.

Darren Lehmann was drafted in as his replacement and while Australia lost the series on English soil 3-0, he has turned around their fortunes, with the home side retrieving the Ashes in Perth yesterday to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.

“I think Darren’s played a fantastic role,” Sutherland said when asked if the result justified Arthur’s dismissal.

“Certainly looking back on it now, it looks like a pretty good decision doesn’t it?“

After the victory yesterday, Clarke made it clear Australia have no plans to ease up in the last two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, with the team aiming for a 5-0 whitewash to keep alive their dream of becoming number one in the world.

Sutherland said it was this attitude that summed up what Lehmann had brought to the team.

“We’ve obviously had reviews and had some difficult times over the last two or three years but the plan has always been... to look for sustained success, not just to look to win the Ashes or win here or there,” he said.

“It’s about sustained success and that’s what I love about Michael Clarke and what he is saying.

“His reaction is it’s great to win the Ashes, but we want to be number one and we want to stay there and that’s the focus and that’s very much part of the broader organisational strategy, but inside the team that is what they are thinking as well.”

Australia’s win in Perth by 150 runs followed even more emphatic victories in Brisbane and Adelaide, by 381 and 218 runs, and Sutherland said the way the team had gone about dismantling England was beyond expectations.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work, but the last four weeks these first three Test matches, the performances of the team have been absolutely outstanding,” he said.

“A great team effort and we are very, very proud of them.

“I think we all thought that we were a good show here at home but to be 3-0 up with a couple to play is probably beyond expectations I think.”

The fourth Test in Melbourne is barely a week away but there will be no let-up for David Warner, Perth man-of-the-match Steve Smith and George Bailey, who have all been released to play the opening round of the domestic Big Bash competition this weekend.

But bowlers Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon and Peter Siddle will be kept on ice for the MCG.

Veterans Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin are also having their workload managed and will be rested.

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