Oz mostly warms to Arthur
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - Australians generally appear to have embraced the decision to appoint former Proteas coach Mickey Arthur as new coach of their national cricket team.
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In a significant departure from tradition, Cricket Australia this week named Johannesburg-born Arthur, 43, to the post, making him the first overseas appointment.
But if some Aussies may have feared the news might go down like the proverbial lead balloon Down Under, initial reaction among press and public seems to have been largely positive.
The influential Sydney Morning Herald quickly put up a reader poll on Tuesday, asking the simple question: “Is Mickey Arthur the right man for the Australia coaching job?”
Early response in the affirmative was running at 67 percent at the time of writing.
Meanwhile in another of the country’s “serious” newspapers, the Melbourne Age, Chloe Saltau described the former Griquas and Free State opening batsman as “one of the most affable men in world cricket, but not a soft touch”.
She added: “The twinkle in his eye should not be mistaken for anything less than sharp professionalism.
“What is beyond doubt is that he won’t tolerate slackness and he won’t mind bruising egos in his quest for sustainable success.”
Cricinfo’s Daniel Brettig said that in his tenure with Western Australia, Arthur “familiarised himself with the Australian game and showed his capability for tough decisions as he worked to revitalise a state that had developed, in his words, ‘too many comfort zones’.
“In addition to coaching Australia, Arthur will be a selector, and also the man responsible for ensuring the coaching philosophy and structure across all state sides will be consistent and helpful to the progress of the national team - it is a commission similarly powerful to that held by (Andy) Flower in England.”
One discordant note was struck by Tony Greig, the often outspoken former England captain who has been an Aussie-based television personality for many years.
In a tweet responding to the Arthur news, Greig said: “I’m not sure how many Aussies want a foreign coach, no matter how good he is.
“In any event was (Steve) Rixon not (captain Michael) Clarke’s preferred choice?”