Sutherland says Oz team morale improved following Arthur`s sacking

Updated: Jul 19, 2013, 10:20 AM IST

Sydney: Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland has said that the Australian team morale has improved following Mickey Arthur`s sacking and the appointment of Darren Lehmann as the new coach.

Arthur is suing CA for up to four million dollars after he was sacked following batsman David Warner`s bar room altercation with England`s Joe Root.

Stating the team culture is unrecognisable from the one left following Arthur`s sacking, Sutherland said that he is `very comfortable` with the board`s legal position in relation to the former coach, adding that he is excited about the place the team is in now.

According to Sutherland, the volatile contents of Arthur`s court documents, including claims of infighting between captain Michael Clarke and his former deputy Shane Watson and allegations of racial discrimination, were irrelevant to Australia`s Ashes campaign.

Describing the leaking of the Arthur court documents as `an unfortunate distraction`, Sutherland however, said that the CA is `comfortable` with their legal position on the case, although he remained mum on whether CA had invoked a termination clause in Arthur`s contract, which had two years to run.

Refusing to comment on the possible improvement of the relationship between Clarke and Watson, Sutherland also said that it is inappropriate for him to speculate about how two adults work out and get through a situation, adding that he would be aware of only a small part of what is happening in the team.

Sutherland further said that team has galvanized and become more focused under the mentorship of Lehmann, which showed in their performance at Trent Bridge in the first Ashes Test, adding that he hoped that their performance continue to show for the rest of the series.

Reacting to Warner`s statement that he felt guilty about his role in Arthur`s ousting, and was determined to be a better team man following his suspension, Sutherland further said that Warner has the complete backing of CA, adding that the batsman now needed to fight his way back.