Ashes: Australia appoint Darren Lehmann coach 16 days before first Test
Darren Lehmann will coach Australia for the Ashes series after the sacking of Mickey Arthur.
Last Updated: 24/06/13 5:26pm
Arthur failed to bring out any improvement in Australia's results in less than two years in charge and his reign was also marked by a number of off-field issues.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland conceded the timing of the change, just 16 days before the start of the first Test, was unfortunate, but admitted it was necessary.
"This has been a difficult decision to make but one that we feel is necessary," Sutherland said.
"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."
Arthur was naturally disappointed but understood why the decision was made.
He said: "I certainly wanted to see the job through but I accept that the team hasn't been completely galvanised under my leadership and our performances have been inconsistent.
"I'm certainly a believer in good culture and traditions much like all Australians and feel we were starting to get a shift in the right direction. We certainly need the team to be absolutely unified if we're any chance of beating the English."
On Lehmann, Sutherland added: "He has had outstanding success in a short time with Queensland Cricket winning the Bupa Sheffield Shield, Ryobi One-Day Cup and KFC T20 Big Bash League all within the last two years. Lehmann will be contracted until June 2015 - post the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
"The Board considered him the outstanding candidate to drive the cultural change required in the team and to take it to the number one ranking in all formats of the game.
"No-one is underestimating the task at hand but we believe he is the right man for the job. It is up to the players to respond under his leadership and demonstrate their commitment to a successful Australian team."
Lehmann played 27 Tests and 117 one-day internationals for Australia between 1996 and 2005, and he has since been successfully involved with the Brisbane Heat and Kings XI Punjab as a coach.
"It's a challenge for all of the playing group. I'm excited by the challenge, looking forward to working with captain Michael Clarke and the team, and seeing them enjoy some success on this tour," Lehmann said.