Mickey Arthur says the ball-tampering scandal at Newlands was a result of Australia’s failure to improve its cricket culture.
The South African, who is now in charge of Pakistan, was sacked as Australia coach in 2013 after clashing with players over standards of professionalism.
With Australia 2-0 down in an away series against India in 2012-13 – and 34 of their 40 wickets having been picked up by India spinners – Arthur gave his players ‘homework’ that required them to provide ideas about the best way to improve performance.
Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja failed to perform the task and were axed from the third Test in Mohali. That ultimately led to Arthur being fired before the 2013 Ashes, with Darren Lehmann taking over.
‘Unfortunately, it was always going to end like this,’ Arthur wrote on the PlayersVoice website, referring to the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town.
‘Despite generational change, independent reviews and too many behavioural spotfires to list, Cricket Australia and the national team had demonstrated no real willingness or desire to improve the culture within their organisation from season to season.
‘That could lead to only one conclusion. An explosion. A deterioration of standards that would culminate in an incident so bad, so ugly, that it would shame the leaders of the organisation into taking drastic action.’
Arthur said the behaviour of the Australia team under Lehmann had been ‘boorish and arrogant’ and that he hated talk of ‘the line’, which supposedly separates acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
‘What is the line? Who sets it? Who dictates how it is enforced? It is totally different culture-to-culture, yet the Australians believe they’re the ones who should be setting it?
‘That it’s OK to intimidate a person from another country, another culture, during the day and be buddies with him afterwards? Nonsense.
‘The Aussies have played the victim when they deem the other team has overstepped the mark. And when they’ve been in the ascendancy and behaved badly, everything is okay because they have determined as much.’