Off field issues have created a sense of an ill-disciplined outfit. On field performances have been sub-standard. This was a team heading for certain Ashes humiliation.
And so before it’s too late, the board have acted and brought in new Australian leadership. Darren Lehmann will have a far stronger understanding of the Australian cricket psyche than outsider Arthur. He will know what makes them tick, when to be strong, and when to be understanding.
One of the arts of leadership is to recognise when things are going off track. It means being vigilant and surveillant on an almost daily basis, for the small signs that tell you when something is not right.
If as a leader, you are too pre-occupied to do this, then you need to have team-members who act as your eyes and ears. People whose job it is to pick up when things are off track and mis-aligned against core values. Then bring that behaviour to your attention asap.
Some mis-alignments are simply one-offs and require nothing more than a raised eyebrow. Others indicate that all is not well and action is needed.
Poor leaders either don’t see the signs or just ignore them, as it often means them having to act or make difficult decisions. See the leadership disaster at Mid-Staff hospital for a powerful example of leadership ignoring mis-aligned values, in their pre-occupation to meet targets.
So Cricket Australia have acted decisively. Acted on behalf of the greater cause. And as we know, decisiveness off the field supports decisiveness on it. The players now have no excuses to under-perform. Will it be enough to beat England? Well, time will tell.
But by having made a difficult and challenging decision, the Aussies can now come together under combative Australian leadership. The players will feel understood and supported, and emotionally hungry to prove that it was Micky Arthur, not themselves that was the problem. And decisiveness plus hunger to prove a point can be an intoxicating combination!