Darren Lehmann replaces Mickey Arthur as Australian coach

Last Updated: Mon, Jun 24, 2013 07:20 hrs

Cricket Australia sacked Mickey Arthur on Monday and replaced him with Darren Lehmann as the new Australian cricket coach two weeks before the start of the Ashes series. Arthur was sacked after a meeting with chief executive James Sutherland and high performance manager Pat Howard in Bristol, local media reported on Monday.

Cricket Australia said they would be holding a news conference in Bristol, England, later on Monday, where chief executive James Sutherland would "discuss the coaching structure of the Australian team".

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper and other media outlets reported that Arthur had been informed over the weekend that he was being let go despite his contract running until March, 2015.

The South African - the first non-Australian coach to run the side - took over in 2011 in the wake of a review into the humiliating 3-1 Ashes defeat, the first home series loss to England in nearly a quarter of a century.

The 45-year-old had previously coached South Africa to their first test series victory in Australia before resigning after falling out with Cricket South Africa officials.

Under his watch, some initially encouraging results have given way to the debacle of this year's 4-0 test series defeat in India and the failure to reach the knockout stages of the Champions Trophy.

It may be, however, that Arthur has paid the price as much for the off-field problems as the on-field calamities.

In what became known as "homework-gate", Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were dropped from the third test in India for failing to provide their thoughts on how Australia could improve in an e-mail.

David Warner's Twitter attack on journalists did nothing to counter the impression that discipline was an issue in the squad and it was compounded when the opener hit England batsman Joe Root in a bar after a Champions Trophy defeat.

Sutherland was furious about the latter incident, which resulted in Warner being stood down for the remainder of the Champions Trophy.

The highly-regarded Lehmann, better known in cricket circles as "Boof", was a left-handed batsman who played 27 tests and 117 one-day internationals before moving into coaching.

Australia play a four-day tour match against Somerset on Wednesday with the first Ashes test starting at Trent Bridge on July 10.

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