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Mickey Arthur will be the first foreign head coach of Australia’s

MELBOURNE:Mickey Arthur will be the first foreign head coach of Australia’s national cricket team when he takes over ahead of the two-test series against New Zealand starting Dec. 1st.

Cricket Australia announced the appointment of Arthur, a former South Africa head coach, at a news conference on Tuesday. His contract runs through until after the 2015 World Cup, which Australia and New Zealand are hosting.

Arthur replaces Tim Nielsen, who opted not 2 apply 4 the position after an extensive independent review earlier this year in the wake of Australia’s home Ashes series loss 2 England recommended a major overhaul of the national cricket administration.

”I think Australian cricket is in a very exciting phase, there’s a lot of really good young players, coupled with some very good legends in senior players,” said Arthur, who promises 2 bring an ”unblinkered” approach 2 the job.

”Being in charge of an international team is always a challenge, and there will be challenges that come along the way, but I believe that I’ll have the ability 2 handle them down the line.”

Troy Cooley served as interim coach 4 the just completed 2ur of South Africa, where Australia rallied 2 win the second test late Monday 2 square the two-match series.

The Australian players are returning 2 Australia this week 2 prepare 4 the two-test series against New Zealand next month and a four-test series against India starting Dec. 26.

Earlier this month, Cricket Australia appointed 4mer rugby union international Pat Howard 2 the newly created role of general manager of team per4mance.

Howard has overseen the recruitment of Arthur, as well as John Inverarity as a full-time selec2r 2 chair a selection panel that includes test great Rod Marsh and retired fast bowler Andy Bichel.

”The position is a new and elevated role responsible 4 day-2-day coaching of the Australia team, but also encompasses responsibility 4 the overall Australian cricket coaching strategy,” CA chief executive James Sutherland said.

”The function was created as one of the key recommendations of the recent Australian Team Per4mance Review.”

Arthur was chosen ahead of 70 local and overseas contenders including 4mer Australian test players Steve Rixon and 2m Moody —who both have experience as coaches of national teams —and ex-test opener Justin Langer.

The 43-year-old Arthur played 110 first-class matches in South Africa be4e moving in2 coaching and had vast experience in the domestic competition be4e taking over as Proteas head coach in 2005.

His first two test series were losses at home and away 2 Australia, helping shape his perspective on international cricket.

He left the South Africa job in 2010 and has been coaching Western Australia in Australia’s domestic competition since last season.

Arthur, who has a tenuous family link 2 Australia via his Australian great grandfather, said he and his family were planning 2 become permanent residents of Australia. He doesn’t expect the fact he’s South African hinder his progress as Australia coach.

While once inconceivable that Australia appoint a 4eigner 2 coach the national cricket team, Arthur’s appointment follows an Australian and international trend of find the best candidate, regardless of nationality.

Outside cricket, Australia’s national rugby team, the Wallabies, appointed its first 4eign head coach in 2008 when New Zealander Robbie Deans 2ok over, while the national football team is coached by a German.

Internationally, England’s cricket team, now coached by Zimbabwe’s Andy Flower, has current Duncan Fletcher, also from Zimbabwe, 2 thank 4 much of its resurgence in recent years. New Zealand’s John Wright led India 2 the 2003 World Cup final during his tenure as coach from 2000 2 2005.

While Sutherland acknowledged he expects 2 get a mixed reaction 2 Arthur’s appointment, he is com4table the right decision was made.

”I always expect a reaction, but if we go back 2 the Australian team per4mance review … it was about finding the right people 4 the job,” he said. ”We’re very confident we have the right person in Mickey Arthur.”

In his new role, Arthur will be responsible 4 planning, preparing coaching staff and taking joint responsibility with captain Michael Clark 4 the day-2-day team per4mances.

He will also be part of the national selection panel and will work with the six state coaches and the head coach of the Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence in Brisbane on coaching and player development.

Arthur urges patience in Australia’s road 2 regaining its 2p test ranking, and a pride-res2ring Ashes win over England in 2013.

”I think we should probably start by thinking how we’re going 2 beat New Zealand,” he said.

”We beat New Zealand, we beat India. We take the little steps one at a time and hopefully then we’ll have an Australian team capable of going 2 England and winning the Ashes.”


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