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Arthur put many of the players under too much pressure
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has revealed that ex-coach Mickey Arthur instilled fear into the heart of the team during his tenure, but also added that his successor Darren Lehmann will inject a new and much-needed calm into the squad.
In his column for the Daily Mail, Ponting noted that Arthur had put many of the players, like Shane Watson and Phillip Hughes, under too much pressure, which resulted in their poor run of form over the past few months.
“The bottom line for me is that maybe the players had been put under too much pressure by the previous regime and that pressure needs to be released now,” Ponting wrote. “It’s hard to judge from afar but they seem to have been too scared to play the way they can. It’s not a question of trying to live up to the great names of Australia’s past, it’s a question of the current group playing as well as they can.”
Ponting spent a year playing under the Arthur regime until his retirement in December last year and stated that Cricket Australia made the right decision to terminate the 45-year-old just before the Ashes as the series was too important to lose.
“‘Boof’ [Lehmann] has had a lot of success as a coach and even though I have never played under him I know exactly what he’ll be like around the Australia team,” Ponting wrote. “He will bring calmness to the group, make sure they try to have fun and enjoy the experience of playing for Australia. Above all, he will instil confidence into the young guys in the team who seem to be lacking it at the moment.
“Will this decision affect the outcome of the Ashes? Well, only time will tell. Australia could have won the first Test under Mickey Arthur and equally they could win it under Darren Lehmann. What I do know is that they need to be aggressive and take England on now. They will under Boof.”
Ponting believes Arthur’s sacking had come as a result of Australia’s on-field disappointments, but added that the off-field controversies, which include the ‘homework-gate scandal’ and David Warner punching England’s Joe Root at the Walkabout bar in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy, had not done him any favours either.
The former skipper further noted that Arthur could not have done anything to prevent the Warner controversy as some players just have to take responsibility for their own actions.
“Everybody involved has to take responsibility for this and that includes the players,” Ponting said. “There is only so much the coach can do. Once the players step over that line it is down to them and our displays clearly haven’t been up to scratch.”