MELBOURNE: Australia have been a “closer” team since former head coach Mickey Arthur made way for Darren Lehmann, according to pace spearhead Mitchell Starc.
Now directing Pakistan, South African Arthur is keen to steer the south Asians to a win against his old team when the three-Test series starts in Brisbane on Thursday.
Starc was never able to cement his position in the test side during Arthur’s 19-month tenure from 2011-13, and said Australia were a better team under his successor Lehmann.
“He was a nice guy. Our team has changed immensely since he’s been put out of the job … we’re a lot closer. “Boof’s [Lehmann] obviously brought his own coaching theories and concepts.
“The group has obviously changed personnel-wise as well, so we’ve developed massively as a squad since the time of Mickey Arthur, and I think all for the better.”
Arthur was sacked three weeks before the 2013 Ashes, after a breakdown of team discipline during the 4-0 series loss away to India and later in England.
Australia have lost five of their last six Tests to put Lehmann under pressure, but Starc said the straight-talking former test batsman was the right man to guide a rebuilding team which blooded four debutants in their last match against South Africa.
“[Arthur] probably rode the game a little bit more and I think at times found it hard to watch,” Starc said of the South Africa’s coaching.
“Whereas Boof instils a lot of confidence in you. He’s got that laid-back, old-school attitude but doesn’t sugar-coat anything.
“That’s what this young group needs as well … some hard truths sometimes.”