Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland says the Australian team culture is unrecognisable from the one left following Mickey Arthur’s sacking, adding that he is ”very comfortable with our legal position” in relation to the ex-coach.
Sutherland arrived in London in the eve of the second Test at Lord’s and said the explosive contents of Arthur’s court documents – including claims of infighting between Michael Clarke and Shane Watson and allegations of racial discrimination – were irrelevant to Australia’s Ashes campaign.
”I left the team three weeks ago. I had been back in Australia. I spent the morning catching up with everyone around the hotel, and it’s a different place, it’s a different team and I’m really excited about the place this team is in,” Sutherland said.
”What I’ve seen in the last few days, I think, so what. It doesn’t mean anything right now.”
Arthur is suing Cricket Australia for up to $4 million after he was sacked following David Warner’s bar room altercation with England batsman Joe Root.
Asked specifically about what had been done to patch up the relationship between Clarke and Watson, Sutherland said: ”I would be aware of 10 per cent of what’s happening, and I think it’s entirely inappropriate for me to speculate and talk about how adults work through the situation and get on with it.
”It’s not just … one or two relationships. I’m talking about the whole team environment. We’ve got a team that’s galvanised and very, very focused, and it showed in their performances at Nottingham and will hopefully continue to show for the rest of this series.”
Sutherland described the leaking of the documents as ”an unfortunate distraction”, and refused to comment on details of the case ”except that we are very comfortable with our legal position”. Nor would he comment on whether Cricket Australia had invoked a termination clause in Arthur’s contract, which had two years to run.
Previously, at a media conference in Bristol on the day Arthur was replaced by Darren Lehmann, Sutherland said that Cricket Australia would meet its responsibilities to the sacked coach.
”Mickey’s got a contract that has details which are private but there’s terms about that we need to meet, and we’ll certainly meet all our responsibilities to Mickey,” Sutherland said at the time.
A statement from Arthur and Harmers Workplace Lawyers this week confirmed proceedings had been filed in the Fair Work Commission ”for being sacked and scapegoated. The grounds include racial discrimination”.
Arthur said he was shattered that the documents became public.
His biographer Neil Manthorp has since said the 45-year-old was always going to find it difficult to succeed in elite Australian sport. ”I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone to hear that he was told he didn’t understand the Australian way,” Manthorp said.
Warner this week said he carried guilt about his role in Arthur’s ousting, and was determined to be a better team man following his suspension, which has cost him two Ashes Tests.
Sutherland said: ”I saw the comments, and that’s good. I had a couple of conversations, and he’s said he’s remorseful.
”What you have to do is back it up with actions … and that’s what we’re looking for from him.
”We’ll back him 100 per cent. He’s done the crime, he’s done his time. He’s got to fight his way back. We all want him to have success.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.