Well, it looks like they spurned my advances. A months or so ago I put my name forward as the man to revive Australia’s fortunes (see The Answer to Australia’s Woes in the right hand column) but my recipe for success – based on the John Buchanan method of alienating your best player – has been rejected by the ACB. Instead the Australian cricketing hierarchy has opted for a far more controversial strategy: choosing one of your biggest rival’s former coaches.
The ACB’s decision to appoint Mickey Arthur as the Canary Yellow’s new coach would have been unthinkable a few years ago. Back then Arthur was the somewhat cocky coach of South Africa – a man known for winding up the opposition with his subtle (but quite deliberate) pre-match comments. He was about as popular in Australia as Graeme Smith; who is about as popular as the Taipan snake and the funnel web spider combined.
The ACB’s decision to appoint Arthur is therefore akin to Jurgen Klinsmann becoming England football manager. It’s bizarre to say the least. Although Arthur has been working down under as Western Australian coach, surely there were better candidates out there? Another former Warriors coach, Tom Moody, springs to mind.
The other thing that makes Arthur’s appointment odd is that he was known for taking a backseat during his tenure as South Africa coach. He pretty much let Graeme Smith run the show. It is doubtful whether the same approach will work with the Baggy Greens, who have a number of senior players coming towards the end of their careers; their influence must be strong. Australia will not move forward if the likes of Ponting and Hussey are running the show.
Although England have appointed foreign coaches without flinching (and thanks heavens for that), the ECB generally did so because there were few quality English candidates available. This wasn’t the case with Australia. Arthur was preferred to guys like Tom Moody, Steve Rixon, Stuart Law and Justin Langer – not to mention a whole host of recently retired legends. Instead they’ve gone for the South African with a cheeky grin and a penchant for mischief. It’s going to be an interesting ride.