The Ashes: Michael Clarke insists Australia united for Lord's Test
Captain Michael Clarke insists his Australia squad is united ahead of Thursday's second Ashes Test at Lord's.
Last Updated: 17/07/13 2:02pm
Clarke was forced to respond following claims from former coach Mickey Arthur that the captain has described Shane Watson as a "cancer" in the side.
Arthur is suing Cricket Australia for his dismissal last month and documents submitted to support his claim for £2.45m contain the claims.
Watson recently stood down as vice-captain and was replaced by Brad Haddin, whilst Arthur was replaced as coach by Darren Lehmann.
Clarke insists there is no rift, saying: "I am not going to get involved in this. I cannot remember for long time the team being as united as we are right now and, no coincidence, Darren has played a big part in that.
"The most important thing is that we, as a team, are focused as we can be on Thursday."
And former Australia selector Merv Hughes believes any rifts within the camp will have been healed by Lehmann's appointment.
"I was involved three years ago and I didn't see any factions within the group," he told Sky Sports.
"When you hear Mickey Arthur come out, obviously there was a problem within the rooms but I don't think he had the respect of all the players and as a coach when that happens you are under a world of hurt.
"And ultimately he was dismissed so he can say what he likes now but if there was a faction within the group that would have been pretty much repaired under Darren Lehmann as the guys seem to be playing for each other at the moment."
South African Arthur - who is claiming that he was racially discriminated against when he was sacked - has meanwhile released a statement that he is "upset and disappointed" that what should have been confidential court papers have been made public.
"The matters raised in my application to the FWC (Fair Work Commission) concerning issues within the Australian cricket team are very sensitive, which is why I was at pains to keep them confidential, especially at this time," he said.
"I have kept them confidential, unfortunately others have now made them public. The welfare of the Australian cricket team is upmost to me."
Hughes, though, believes Arthur lost his job because of Australia's struggles on the pitch rather than anything to do with his nationality.
"Eight months into a three-year contract, my understanding is that he will get his contract paid out," he added. "Can he get compensation on top of that? I don't know.
"Was he unfairly treated because he was a South African? I don't think so.
"Was he fairly pushed aside because he wasn't doing a good job as coach, that's the question you have got to ask.
"We have already seen a marked improvement in the Australian side in the last three, four weeks under Darren Lehmann so obviously he wasn't doing the job he was paid to do."