LehmannLehmann gets tough for AshesIt’s my fault: Arthur

It seems we’re not the only ones taking the Mickey out of Australian cricket.

Following the extraordinary announcement on Monday that Mickey Arthur had been sacked as Australia’s cricket coach less than three weeks out from the first Ashes Test, the British press has taken aim at the state of Australian cricket and the team’s predicted “car crash of a tour” of the UK.

Leading the charge was Fleet Street tabloid The Daily Mail, which said new coach Darren Lehmann had been “handed the mother of all hospital passes”.

“Even by the jaw-dropping standards of Australian cricket, the decision to sack South African Mickey Arthur yesterday and replace him as coach with the epitome of a stereotypical Aussie just 16 days before the start of the Ashes was a shock,” wrote Paul Newman.

Cricket Australia might as well have asked Newcastle United’s new director of football, Joe Kinnear – who recently gave a gaffe-strewn radio interview in which he repeatedly mispronounced the names of his players – to provide a “stabilising force” to the team, Newman wrote.

“Darren Lehmann, the man the Aussies call Boof, would prefer to have a beer with his players than set them homework but it is his typically Australian qualities that his bosses hope will galvanise their team somehow,” he wrote.

“Lehmann’s first task will be to sort out the bitter divisions within his team and only then can he possibly think about trying to take on England at Trent Bridge on July 10. Good luck to him. A prediction of 5-0 to England? I was being kind on Australia.”

Notorious British red top The Sun ran the headline: “Take the Mickey! Laughing stock Aussies axe coach Arthur”.

Australian cricket had “lurched into crisis once more” and the “former cricket superpower risk becoming a laughing stock”, wrote Ali Martin.

“Either way, Lehmann’s appointment suggests a boomerang-like return to the days of Aussie mateship, with the former Yorkshire overseas player known for his straight-talking old school approach,” he said.

The Guardian’s Andy Bull began his analysis by recounting the ABC’s coverage of the news in Australia, in which Cricket Australia’s move was described as a “potential masterstroke” which had left “England suddenly cornered” ahead of the Ashes.

That was rubbish, Bull claimed.

“If the team are looking for a new spinner, they could do worse than scout in the ABC newsrooms,” he wrote. “The sound of English sniggering obviously had not made it to Australia in time for the 9pm bulletin.

“The idea that Lehmann, good coach as he may be, can fix in three weeks what Arthur could not mend in 18 months is fanciful in the extreme. A masterstroke it is not. A bloody muddle it just may be.”

Following Monday’s announcement, jokes immediately began circulating on social media about whether Kevin Rudd had the numbers to be the next Australian cricket coach.

“Apparently Kevin Rudd was seen loitering near the Australian Cricket Academy….” tweeted @cyenne40.

But former England captain Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) tweeted that he believed the shock move was good for the Australian team.

“For the 1st time in Months I am worried about Australia… If Darren Lehmann is the coach he will get them right .. #Ashes2013,” he tweeted.

“The Aussies might not have the players of old but @darren-lehmann will install real fight into the side… #Worried.”

Former England paceman Matthew Hoggard (@Hoggy602) also tweeted his support for Lehmann.

“Can’t believe the timing of the sacking of Mickey Arthur ! Darren Lehman will be a fantastic replacement though ! #ashes”

Megan Levy

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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