'Lack of authority'

Chloe Saltau told Cricket Writers on TV that the arrival of Darren Lehmann has lifted spirits in the Australia camp.

Last Updated: 01/07/13 at 17:54 Post Comment

Lehmann, 43, took over as the Antipodeans' head coach last week following the dismissal of former incumbent Mickey Arthur just 16 days before the opening Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

Saltau believes Arthur - who axed Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson for a Test in India earlier this year after the quartet failed to complete a team assignment - did not have complete control of his players.

But the journalist, who writes for Australian publication The Age, says other members of the Cricket Australia hierarchy, including skipper Michael Clarke, must shoulder some of the blame for the nation's recent struggles in international cricket.

"I texted a high-up figure in Cricket Australia when Lehmann was appointed and asked: 'Why now?', and they said: 'To win the Ashes', so there probably is an element of panic in it," said Saltau.

"But it feels like a masterstroke because there has been a dramatic change of mood from a week ago when there were lots of tense meetings and it was a very tense environment.

"The issues had been bubbling along since the India debacle and while I suspect most of the players thought Mickey was a good man, he seemed to lose his authority.

"And the David Warner-Joe Root nightclub incident was the last straw as it showed that the disciplinary issues hadn't been resolved.

"However, everyone in a leadership position is under scrutiny; Clarke hasn't put a foot wrong on the field but he hasn't been able to embrace his senior players and bring a team together that is suffering without Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey."

Issues

Saltau's fellow Cricket Writers on TV pundit, Sun scribe Ali Martin, believes Lehmann, who played 27 Tests and 117 ODIs for Australia between 1996-2005, could galvanise the Baggy Greens with his "beer and fag" mentality.

But the Independent's Stephen Brenkley is sceptical that the former Queensland coach will guide Australia to their first Ashes triumph since 2007, suggesting that there are plenty more problem areas for the men from Down Under to fix before they fire on the field once again.

"There is a spring in Australia's step and a song in their heart [after Lehmann's appointment] but it doesn't mean they will win the Ashes," said Brenkley. "England are still the better team and will win the series quite comfortably if they don't take their eye off the ball.

"When Australia were pushed from pillar to post in the last Ashes series they had a naval-gazing procedure called the Argus Report which identified cultural errors in the Australia set-up, but they clearly haven't been addressed.

"There aren't enough good players coming through - they have some good bowlers but their batting looks wretched - and while Lehmann may be the elixir, I don't think he will be.

"There is something not quite there at the moment [in Australian cricket]."

Sky Sports Ashes HD will show exclusively live ball-by-ball coverage of the Investec Ashes this summer. Find out more about our coverage and how you can tune in here.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

B

enteke is an absolute steal for £32.5m, he would get into any team in the world (except Barcelona) at the moment. I've seen many very good strikers in my 30+ years as a Villa fan. This guy is the best without question.

sparkigol
Benteke's £32.5m release clause

A

ll he wants are sharks with frickin lazers on their heads. Is that too much to ask?

mufc phil
Bomb threat on FIFA D-day

W

hy is the dinosaur trying to hold on to this.... Just leave... No one wants you in this position you corrupt loser. Let someone else take over....

arsenal121
Defiant Sepp blames minority

Footer 365

Sepp Blatter claims he knows how to fix FIFA after re-election

Sepp Blatter says he knows how to fix FIFA’s broken reputation after a traumatic week for football’s governing body.

Sepp Blatter will not last two years, says FA chairman Greg Dyke

FA chairman Greg Dyke is not surprised Sepp Blatter won a fifth term as FIFA president but he does not expect him to even last two years.

One-time FIFA presidential candidate Luis Figo scathing of Sepp Blatter

One-time FIFA presidential candidate Luis Figo was scathing in his criticism of Sepp Blatter after the Swiss was voted in for a fifth term.

Mail Box

Players Must Stand Up For Qatar Boycott

Players, not bureaucrats, hold the key to boycotting Qatar. Also in the afternoon mailbox: Wenger is right to rotate, Zlatan can dribble, and it's Barca v Ajax in the budget final...

What Would You Do If You Were Blatter?

Step into Sepp's shoes, is the invitation from one mailboxer. Also: United already have their new number one, Rodgers deserves time, and the best Budget XI so far...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company