Watson a ‘cancer’
LONDON — Former Australia coach Mickey Arthur has reportedly claimed in legal documents that Michael Clarke described Shane Watson and his faction as “a cancer” on the national squad, while also alleging he was the victim of racial discrimination during his time with the team.
The Seven Network has reported the documents tendered to the Fair Work Commission in Sydney, which form part of Arthur’s claim for up to AUD 4 million in compensation from Cricket Australia or his job back after his sacking last month, two years before his contract was due to expire. The network reported that the documents claimed “major tension” between Clarke and Watson, and that Arthur felt he was “the meat in the sandwich” between them.
Arthur has released a statement on the leaking of the documents, describing his distress at their details becoming public. “I am extremely upset and disappointed that confidential documents appear to have been given by others to the media,” Arthur said.
“The matters raised in my application to the FWC concerning issues within the Australian cricket team are very sensitive, which is why I was at pains to keep them confidential, especially at this time. “I have kept them confidential, unfortunately others have now made them public. 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.”
Arthur’s legal representation confirmed allegations of racial discrimination and scapegoating.
“We can confirm that last week Mickey Arthur filed proceedings on a number of grounds in the Fair Work Commission Sydney for being sacked and scapegoated,” a spokesperson for Arthur’s law firm said. “The grounds include racial discrimination. This legal action was filed confidentially with FWC as Mickey was at pains to resolve this issue privately.”
Speaking at Lord’s today, Clarke said the airing of the team’s dirty laundry would not be allowed to derail their preparations for the second Ashes Test. “First I’m not going to get involved in it, the most important thing is that we as a team are as focused as we can be on Thursday,” Clarke said.
“We’ve obviously got a huge game in front of us, the boys are feeling great, as we showed in the last Test match we’re here to fight and do as well as we possibly can in this Test series, and I think we showed that the other day.”
Arthur also allegedly reported in the documents that Watson had told him about David Warner’s punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham pub during the Champions Trophy, which led to Warner’s suspension. Watson previously stated that he was not responsible for passing the information on to Arthur. The Seven Network also reported that in the documents Arthur claimed Cricket Australia did not support him over the decision to suspend four players on the tour of India over the so-called homework incident. Arthur alleged that he was discriminated against because he was South African and did not understand the Australian way.
“We’re disappointed it has come to this position but Cricket Australia is confident in its position on this matter and I’m sure it will get resolved in an appropriate fashion,” CA lawyer Dean Kino said.
Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers’ Association, said he was “extremely disappointed by the allegations” and the timing of their release ahead of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
At Mickey’s departing press conference he talked about taking responsibility for the team’s performances and leaving the job with dignity,” Marsh said. “I fail to see how this course of action is consistent with his words and I am disappointed that this has been released two days before such an important Test match.
“Whilst I have genuine sympathy for Mickey’s current situation, I hope he can deal with his issues with Cricket Australia privately.”