x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Former coach Mickey Arthur sues Cricket Australia over dismissal

South African also says he was racially discriminated against before being sacked just weeks before the start of the Ashes.

Mickey Arthur, centre, was the first foreigner to coach the Australia cricket team.
Mickey Arthur, centre, was the first foreigner to coach the Australia cricket team.

SYDNEY // Former national coach Mickey Arthur is seeking up to US$4 million (Dh14.7m) in compensation or his job back from Cricket Australia, claiming he was the subject of racial discrimination when he was fired.

The South African-born manager – Australia’s first foreign head coach –  sacked last month before the Ashes series after CA said he failed to turn around declining team disciplinary standards.

A Seven Network report cited court documents it says show Arthur is seeking compensation to the end of his 2015 contract. His salary was reportedly $400,000 per year, plus $200,000 in bonuses.

Seven said Arthur, who was replaced by former Australia Test batsman Darren Lehmann, claims he was discriminated against because he is South African and did not understand the Australian way.

Court documents also show Arthur saw himself as the “meat in the sandwich” amid a fierce feud between captain Michael Clarke and all-rounder Shane Watson, Seven reported. He also said Clarke viewed Watson as a "cancer".

The network said Arthur also alleged that Watson told him about the incident in which Australia opener David Warner punched

England batsman Joe Root during the Champions Trophy. Arthur was fired shortly after the incident and Warner was subsequently fined and suspended. Watson previously stated he did not pass the information on to Arthur.

The incident led to Warner’s missing out on the second Test at Lord’s starting tomorrow to join the A side on tour in Africa.

“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,” CA lawyer Dean Kino told Seven.

Arthur guided Australia to 10 wins, six losses and three draws since his appointment in November 2011, but he polarised public opinion when he dropped four players – including Watson – for the third Test in India for failing to complete written reports on their individual contributions to the team. The embarrassing saga was dubbed “Homeworkgate.”

Watson left India before returning a week later to captain the team in the fourth Test after Clarke was sidelined with injury. He has since stood down as vice-captain, and for the Ashes tour, veteran Brad Haddin was recalled as Clarke’s deputy despite not being the first-choice wicketkeeper in more than a year.

Warner said he is devastated by the idea that his off-field behaviour may have played a part in the sacking of Arthur.

“It was probably another thing that was gutting, that I may have played a part in that,” Warner said on the eve of his departure from London for the Australia A tour of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Warner, 26, spoke of his devastation at not being selected to play the first Ashes Test, saying he “kind of broke down” when he told his mother.

“I still feel the guilt of what happened. I feel myself it’s led to me being in this situation at the moment,” he said.

“I put my hand up and accepted the consequences and now it’s about me trying to put as many runs on the board in these next two games [in Harare and Pretoria] and press forward.”

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