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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Cricket

Haddin insists Australia 'fine' despite Arthur claims
AFP
London, July 16, 2013
First Published: 19:57 IST(16/7/2013)
Last Updated: 20:00 IST(16/7/2013)

Brad Haddin on Tuesday maintained that the Australia squad in England were united after former coach Mickey Arthur reportedly claimed there was a huge rift between Test captain Michael Clarke and all-rounder Shane Watson.

Arthur was sensationally sacked just 16 days before the first Ashes Test against holders England at Trent Bridge, a match the tourists lost by just 14 runs on Sunday to go 1-0 down in the five-match series, and was replaced by former Australia batsman Darren Lehmann.

Reports have since emerged that Arthur, the first foreign-born coach of the Australia side is planning to sue Cricket Australia for up to AUS$4 million ($3.69 million, £2.44 million) in compensation.

Now, according to a report by Australian broadcaster Channel Seven, Arthur, in legal documents, has allegedly described the role of Watson and his faction within the team as a "cancer".

Arthur, sacked two years before his contract was due to expire, claimed Clarke embraced the need for discipline, while Watson did not, Channel Seven said.

Arthur also alleged that Watson told him about Australia batsman David Warner's punch at England's Joe Root in a Birmingham pub during the Champions Trophy last month, the broadcaster added.

Watson previously stated he did not pass the information on to Arthur.

The incident led to Warner's suspension before the Ashes, with the top-order batsman, not selected at Trent Bridge, also missing out on the second Test at Lord's starting on Thursday to join the A side on tour in Africa.

Australia wicketkeeper Haddin, speaking to reporters at Lord's on Tuesday, insisted: "The Australian dressing room is fine. I don't know how many times we need to answer this.

"We're all pretty excited to be in an Ashes campaign. Darren's done a wonderful job, like all our staff and players," added vice-captain Haddin, whose second innings 71 nearly led Australia to a stunning first Test win.

"All the other stuff that we can talk about is white noise so it's not something that has affected the side at all."

Channel Seven also reported that Arthur claimed in his submission that Cricket Australia did not support him over the decision to drop four players - including then vice-captain Watson - for the third Test in Mohali in March after the quartet failed to complete a provide written feedback requested by team management on how the side could improve.

The so-called "homework" incident was a low point during a series Australia lost 4-0 and was cited by many observers as the beginning of the end of Arthur's reign as coach.

Channel Seven said Arthur alleged he was discriminated against because he was South African.

"We're disappointed it has come to this position but Cricket Australia is confident in its position on this matter and I'm sure it will get resolved in an appropriate fashion," Cricket Australia (CA) lawyer Dean Kino said Tuesday.

Meanwhile Australia great Shane Warne said Arthur's reported claim was "out of order" and that the South African should consider himself fortunate he got the chance to coach Australia at all.

"It sounds like sour grapes to me and it's pretty disappointing," Warne told Sky Sports News on Tuesday. "He should have been grateful for the opportunity to coach the Australian team."

Warne said CA deserved credit for sacking Arthur, who he joked should do some "homework" of his own.

"I'm one of Cricket Australia's harshest critics at times but I think they've been very good after the Champions Trophy," leg-spin legend Warne said.

"You've got to give a tick to the selectors for picking the squad they have.

"I think you have to give them big ticks for being proactive with Darren Lehmann. He's a fantastic leader and I think that's showing already; even though they've lost they've showed a better spirit in the team.

"So Mickey Arthur should maybe go back to 'Homework Gate'.

"Maybe he should be writing some lines and some paperwork and send them into Cricket Australia."


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