Sydney: Former South African captain Johan Botha has defended sacked Australian coach Mickey Arthur, saying that he is a `nice guy` and no Ashes saboteur, adding that his success steering South Africa to cricket supremacy was forgotten in a premature Australian exit.
Arthur is hoping for a `reasonable solution` to his unfair dismissal claim against Cricket Australia, which involves up to four million dollars compensation or reinstatement.
Dismissing claims that Arthur had leaked confidential court documents revealing team disharmony in Australia ahead of a conciliation hearing with CA, Botha said Arthur`s chances of coaching any team in his native South Africa have probably been hurt by the entire fiasco.
The leaking of sensitive papers lodged with the Fair Work Commission, which detailed Test skipper Michael Clarke labelling former deputy Shane Watson a cancer on the team, had prompted Arthur to suspect a deliberate campaign being waged against him.
Expressing his sadness at the fact that Arthur had gone from coaching one of the top teams in the world to not being a coach at all, Botha hinted that Arthur might have fallen a prey to dressing room and CA politics, given that he had alleged that he was discriminated against on the grounds of his South African heritage.
Praising Arthur, Botha said that the South African had done a good job with the Proteas side, which Botha had captained to a one-day series victory in Australia during February 2009, adding that he had thought that Arthur might have stayed until the first Ashes series, although he added that his former boss was also up to a difficult task with Australia.
Australia`s Ashes campaign could be further rocked if the Arthur case reaches the federal court as the legal team of Arthur, who replaced Tim Nielsen as Australian coach in November 2011, reserves the right to call up players including key protagonists Clarke and former vice-captain Shane Watson.