Australia appoint South African Mickey Arthur

 

South African Mickey Arthur has been named as Australia's new coach.

The 43-year-old becomes the first foreigner to lead Australia after he was given the nod ahead of a list of local hopefuls including Steve Rixon, Justin Langer and Tom Moody.

Arthur, who ended a five-year spell in charge of his native South Africa in January last year, takes over the post vacated by Tim Nielsen who resigned two months ago.

Arthur has signed an initial three-and-a-half year contract that will take him through to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"It is an honour and a privilege to be the coach of a team of the ilk of Australia," he said at a press conference in Melbourne.

"There is a transitional cycle at the moment with Australia, but I think that is the most exciting aspect of this job.

"I have an unblinking view of Australian cricket having come in from outside.

"I have analysed against Australia before and I think that will help.

"It is important to now take this step by step and get sustainable success."

CA high performance chief Pat Howard described Arthur as the stand-out choice after a two-month search.

"He was the outstanding candidate," Howard said.

"He led South Africa to number one in the world in all formats of the game.

"When we went through this process we constantly went back to what the Argus review said and Mickey fitted the bill in every level."

Arthur won plenty of admirers during his time in charge of South Africa, helping them to the top of the ICC rankings, and also inspiring their first ever Test series success in Australia three years ago.

He takes over an Australian side in a similar position to the Proteas team he took over - they are currently ranked fourth in Test cricket - but warned a move back to the top would not happen overnight.

"It will be about the small steps," said Arthur, whose first game in charge is the opening Test against New Zealand in Brisbane next week.

"At the moment all we are looking at is beating New Zealand and then hopefully India.

"If we can get the building blocks of success then the rankings will take care of themselves."

While Arthur will be Australia's first foreign coach he takes over having led Western Australia for the past two seasons.

"I think my time in charge of WA will help me. I know of the young talent around Australia already," he added.

"My family an I are also going to look into getting citizenship. They are very settled in Perth."

Arthur side-stepped questions surrounding the future of former skipper Ricky Ponting, whose place in the Test team has come under scrutiny after another poor tour of South Africa.

Australia claimed a thrilling two-wicket win in Johannesburg yesterday to draw the series, but aside from Ponting's second-innings 50, the former skipper's form continued to be a concern.

"That is something I will sit down with the selection panel with an discuss," he said.

"I will defer that to them for the time being."

PA

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