Cook: Team unity no easy task

2013-07-17 14:27
Alastair Cook (AFP)

London - England captain Alastair Cook said team spirit could never be taken for granted as Australia battled to present a united front after accusations of dressing room disharmony made by ex-coach Mickey Arthur.

The South African was sacked just 16 days before the first Test against Ashes-holders England at Trent Bridge this month and replaced as Australia coach by former Test batsman Darren Lehmann.

Reports said Arthur, fired two years before his contract was due to expire, was seeking up to Aus$4 million (US$3.69 million) in compensation, claiming he was discriminated against because he was South African and "didn't understand the Australian way".

According to Australian broadcaster Channel Seven, legal documents reveal a major feud in the team between captain Michael Clarke and former vice-captain Shane Watson.

Clarke allegedly described the role of Watson and his faction as a "cancer" with Arthur calling himself the "meat in the sandwich" between the conflicting camps.

England had problems of their own last year when Kevin Pietersen, after scoring a superb Test hundred against his native South Africa at Headingley, was briefly dropped from the side for allegedly sending text messages critical of then England captain Andrew Strauss, who has since retired, to Proteas players.

"I can only speak what happen in our dressing room and clearly last summer we had a bad experience," said Cook.

"It shows how hard you've got to work at your team because a fully united team does help your cricket and we constantly have to work at it."

Meanwhile, Clarke insisted his side were pulling in the same direction ahead of Thursday's second Test at Lord's, where Australia will look to level the series after a dramatic 14-run loss at Trent Bridge last week.

"The team is as galvanised as I can remember any Australian team," Clarke said. "All the boys are in a really good place and we're looking forward to Thursday.

Clarke also praised the role of Lehmann in creating dressing room harmony, saying: "We've got a fantastic group, with a great coach. He's united us. We're heading in the right direction."

Arthur said he was disappointed that what he thought were confidential legal documents had been leaked to the media.

"I have kept them confidential. Unfortunately, others have now made them public," said Arthur. "I want to stress how important to me the members of the team were, and still remain to me. The welfare of the Australian cricket team is upmost to me."

Read more on:    ashes  |  alastair cook  |  cricket


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Previous Results

Date Match Result

Who will win the 2019 edition of the Ashes?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.