The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 26 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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CA’s support for battered Arthur & Co.

Calcutta: The embarrassing loss notwithstanding, the Australian team management, including Mickey Arthur, John Inverarity and Pat Howard, have their Board’s full support.

James Sutherland, CA boss, has assured that the Board has not lost faith in the team management, though he added that the 0-4 drubbing was not acceptable.

Head coach Arthur, in the job since November 2011, is under contract with CA until the end of the next World Cup, to be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

Apart from the series defeat, Arthur’s lead role in the suspensions of four players — Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja — for the third Test in Mohali was also heavily criticised.

Howard, on the other hand, was under fire when the high performance chief questioned Watson’s commitment to the team and alluded to “issues” in the relationship between the vice-captain and Michael Clarke.

Sutherland, however, said Arthur, Howard and national selector Inverarity were going nowhere. There has been speculation about Queensland coach Darren Lehmann being considered as a replacement for the South African, but Sutherland said that was not true.

“Like the fans and the players, we are all disappointed with our performances in India. We always knew the conditions would be uniquely tough and we went to India with a team that is young and relatively inexperienced by current international cricket comparison,” Sutherland was quoted as saying by an Australian daily.

“But it is not acceptable to either Australian cricket fans or to any of us involved to lose so convincingly. While the group has had a difficult month, its resolve has never been higher and I know we will bounce back.”

The CA chief executive said the Board continued to back the tough stance taken by Arthur, Clarke and team manager Gavin Dovey in Mohali. However, he admitted there were “issues to assess” before the Champions Trophy in June and the Ashes in England in July and August, including the team’s poor batting.

“Our last Board meeting took a detailed presentation on team performance plans, as we move through the current transition period, and endorsed the approach Pat Howard, Michael Clarke, Mickey Arthur and the selectors are taking as we identify, develop and blood the next generation of talent,” Sutherland said.

“The Board has since endorsed a tougher approach to team discipline sought by the team leadership group and I have been encouraged by the players’ individual and collective response .

“Clearly — and as is always the case after any major tour — there are issues to assess before our next departure overseas, including our batting and progress with injury and rehabilitation.”

Lehmann, for the record, has been an immensely successful coach on the domestic front having steered Queensland to the domestic one-day title, Brisbane Heat to victory in the Big Bash League and overseen the Bulls’ ride to the final of the Sheffield Shield.