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Boorish and arrogant - Arthur slams Australia team culture

532   //    29 Mar 2018, 16:19 IST
MickeyArthur - cropped
Mickey Arthur (L) and David Warner (R) with Australia in 2011

Mickey Arthur has slammed the "boorish and arrogant" culture in the Australia team that has been rocked by ball tampering.

Cameron Bancroft used sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the third Test against South Africa at Newlands on Saturday and received a nine-month ban from Cricket Australia (CA).

CA's investigation alleged Bancroft took instruction from David Warner, who it was deemed developed the plan and has been suspended for 12 months, a sanction also handed to Steve Smith for having knowledge of their intentions and failing to stop it occurring.

Arthur, who has also coached South Africa and is currently in charge of Pakistan, feels the team's environment made such an incident inevitable, but he hopes it can finally bring about the change needed.

"Unfortunately, it was always going to end like this," he wrote on Players' Voice.

"Despite generational change, independent reviews and too many behavioural spotfires to list, Cricket Australia and the national team had demonstrated no real willingness or desire to improve the culture within their organisation from season to season.

"That could lead to only one conclusion. An explosion. A deterioration of standards that would culminate in an incident so bad, so ugly, that it would shame the leaders of the organisation into taking drastic action to change the culture, or risk alienating fans, sponsors, broadcasters and other stakeholders."

A review of the team culture will take place, CA has confirmed, which Arthur was similarly tasked with when he was appointed head coach of Australia in 2011 – he sent four players home from a tour of India in 2013 for failing to complete 'homework'.

"It gives me no pleasure to say this. Indeed, for the period between 2011 and 2013 it was my job, as national team coach, to make the very changes I just mentioned were needed," continued Arthur.

"That I wasn't able to advance that cause disappoints me. I am not for a moment saying I was blameless. There are decisions I would change if I had my time again. But there were other factors at play, factors that have long been associated with Australian cricket. Factors that came to a head at Newlands.

"This is a sad day for the three players involved but, in many ways, it might ultimately be seen as a positive day for the Australian team and cricket generally. It couldn't keep going the way it had been.

"I have been bitterly disappointed watching the Australian cricket team over the last few years. The behaviour has been boorish and arrogant. The way they've gone about their business hasn't been good, and it hasn't been good for a while. There has been no need for the Australians to play this way.

"It has reflected poorly on them and served only to injure the spirit of cricket and bring down the tone of this great game.

"Every other Test-playing nation feels Australia looks down at them and I say this as someone who has coached two of them. I don't know if this attitude is because the Aussies get paid more money – some of them earn in a Test what many of my Pakistani players earn in a year – or because they think they're better cricketers, or that they live in a beautiful country with great facilities. Whatever it is, it's regrettable.

"But I think the sanctions imposed, tough as they are, are the right ones. Cricket Australia needed to make a stand. These guys were the leaders. They were responsible for what transpired.

"So here we are. A cultural issue that should've been addressed a long time ago wasn't. It has all gone bang. And Smith, Warner and Cam Bancroft have been punished for it.

"I'll admit that I was bitterly disappointed when I watched the ball tampering incident on television. Again, these guys are good blokes. 

"They're not villains. That the culture within the team led them to believe this was an acceptable course of action is the great pity of this whole, sorry saga."

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