Michael Clarke takes swing at ‘naive’ former coach Mickey Arthur

Michael Clarke has opened up for the first time about his rift with Mickey Arthur, saying he was ”pissed off” at the former coach during the Ashes and labelling the South African naive for the way he handled the aftermath to his sacking.
Nanjing Night Net

Launching The Ashes Diary in Sydney on Monday, the Test captain said he believed Australia had emerged as a stronger group before next week’s first Test against England at the Gabba.

The book does not contain the same fireworks that catapulted Ricky Ponting’s autobiography into the headlines last month but Clarke does not spare Arthur, who was sensationally cut as head coach less than three weeks before the series in England.

Clarke revealed he was furious when details of Arthur’s subsequent unfair dismissal action against Cricket Australia were made public in July, just before the second Test at Lord’s. According to a TV station’s report, Arthur’s claim to the Fair Work Commission said that Clarke had described Shane Watson and his faction as a ”cancer” on the team, and that the coach had become the ”meat in the sandwich” in the stand-off between Clarke and Watson.

Clarke strongly defends his relationship with Watson in his Ashes diary but takes aim at Arthur.

”I’m filthy. I had a long talk with [his wife] Kyly about it tonight, pouring out my frustrations,” Clarke writes in his diary entry of July 16. ”I’ve supported Mickey through thick and thin, and it pisses me off that this has come up now.

”I sent him a text to tell him as much. He’d said that he didn’t want it to come out publicly, but somehow it leaked out anyway. If Mickey didn’t know this was going to happen, he’s been naive. I still can’t believe he would allow this to happen to the team members, who had no part in his dismissal. As I’ve said until I’m blue in the face, Shane and I get on fine, even if we don’t always see eye to eye. That is healthy and natural. I am frustrated about this continually being brought up. The important thing is that our relationship has improved out of sight.”

Arthur, who strongly denies he or his lawyers leaked details of his claim, reached a confidential settlement with CA in August.

Promoting his book on Monday, Clarke said the off-field controversy that dogged Australia in England – from David Warner’s nightclub altercation with Joe Root in Birmingham to Arthur’s sacking in Bristol – had strengthened them before the return series.

”There was a number of incidents on and off the field where this team could have fallen apart and broke down. We could have lost the series 5-0,” Clarke said. ”But I think everything that happened to the team has brought us closer, and I really believe that. I really believe that the work we put in in the UK will hold us in great stead, and I believe we’ll get some rewards this summer. I think the team is in a fantastic place. The feeling in the group is outstanding. I know all the guys are looking forward to Thursday week.”

Clarke declared he would not be changing his attacking captaincy style this summer as Australia seek to turn around a year in which they have won only one of 10 Tests.

”I don’t have that negativity in me to be honest,” he said. ”It’s about trying to win games of cricket. I’ll do everything I can to help our team win as many games of cricket as possible, and sometimes you risk losing.”

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