‘My relationships were outstanding, except with Watson’, reveals Mickey Arthur

Image courtesy of: dailytelegraph.com.au

Arthur and Watson’s relationship started deteriorating during Australia’s tour of India in February

Former Australia coach Mickey Arthur, who was fired just two days prior to the Ashes, has revealed that he had an “outstanding” working relationship with all the players, except for all-rounder Shane Watson.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Arthur acknowledged that his relationship with Watson first started deteriorating during Australia’s 4-0 whitewashing at the hands of India.

During that series, Arthur axed Watson, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson for the third Test in Mohali in what is now known as the ‘homework-gate’ scandal, whereby the four players were dropped due to the fact that they failed to complete a homework assignment set by Arthur.

“My relationships were outstanding, except with Watson,” Arthur said. “He was one of the guys I lost. India was where it started going wrong, when we suspended those players.

“If I sit back and think, ‘Would I do it [suspend the players] again?’ … well, I probably would. Because I believed so much in what we were trying to do.”

Arthur also admitted to being infuriated with the public’s reaction after the players were axed.

“I met with all our staff before I did it and our staff were adamant that was the right way to go,” he said. “I ended up making those decisions and then ended up bearing the brunt of them.

“I just get annoyed because I put everything into it and I put my head on the line with a lot of big decisions and a lot of the people who were very keen for us to make those decisions then backtracked.”

The former coach stated that he had to enforce the tough decision since the team were lacking in direction and leadership.

“I understood that I drive the ship, but the ship needed conscious changes – it needed value changes,” he said. “We put together this whole values document for all the young players coming into the Australian side. They got a booklet and we told them exactly what the expectations were, because the young guys coming in didn’t know.

“They’re good players, they’re not great players. They’re earning obscene amounts of money and they’ve got big egos, but they don’t know the best way to go about it. So we put in these definite guidelines because we had no leaders there.”

When asked about his reaction to Australia’s recent 3-0 loss to England in the Ashes, Arthur said: “I couldn’t imagine waking up and being 0-3 down in the Ashes now. But I don’t get any pleasure out of watching them struggle.”

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