Cricket Australia have confirmed the appointment of Darren Lehmann after Mickey Arthur was sacked.

The news comes just 16 days before the start of the Ashes, a timing that the Australians admit was "not ideal", but after months of ill-discipline off the pitch and poor performances on, taking action was seen as a critical decision if they are to have any chance of beating England.

James Sutherland, the CEO of Australia Cricket, responded to the questions about replacing Arthur with Lehmann during a press conference.

He said in the press conference: "Why have we made this decision three weeks out from Ashes? Things weren't improving."

Sutherland went on, referring to the 4-0 whitewash in the series against India. The first time they couldn't even muster up a single win against them. Australia have also only won 10 of 19 Tests, 18 of 39 ODIs and 7 of 16 T20s under Arthur's reign.

"The performances over recent months have not been of standard we expect or desire.

"We have made a tough decision and the timing will surprise and shock people. We haven't taken it lightly," Sutherland said. 

Mickey Arthur admitted he was surprised by the decision but accepted that the performances hadn't been good enough, and that he hadn't invigorated the team in the way he had aspired to.

“Naturally I’m very disappointed with how this has all ended," he said.

"I certainly wanted to see the job through but I accept that the team hasn’t been completely galvanised under my leadership and our performances have been inconsistent."

Darren Lehmann, a previous Australian international, has been appointed as head coach until 2015.

Sutherland also said: “The Board considered him the outstanding candidate to drive the cultural change required in the team and to take it to the number one ranking in all formats of the game.  

"No-one is underestimating the task at hand but we believe he is the right man for the job. It is up to the players to respond under his leadership and demonstrate their commitment to a successful Australian team.”

Meanwhile Michael Clarke has also stepped down from his role as a team selector in order to focus fully on his job as a player and a captain. 


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