Cricket Australia rocked by Arthur claims

Former Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur. Photo / Getty Images
Former Australian cricket coach Mickey Arthur. Photo / Getty Images

Captain Michael Clarke has refused to sling mud at Mickey Arthur over his explosive claims of discrimination and disunity within the Australian team, but made it clear new coach Darren Lehmann had united the dressing room.

Just two days out from the second Test at Lord's with Australia trailing 1-0 in the Ashes series, Clarke's team have been rocked by allegations of racial discrimination and cancerous feuds within its ranks by former coach Arthur.

Disgruntled after his sacking, Arthur is seeking up to $4 million in compensation or his job back from Cricket Australia, claiming he was racially discriminated against because of his South African background.

Arthur was sacked last month before the start of the Ashes series, with CA claiming he failed to arrest declining standards of discipline in the team, culminating with David Warner's drunken night out in Birmingham.

Now Arthur is taking CA to court as he seeks payments and compensation through to the end of his 2015 contract.

The Seven Network alleged that documents tendered to court by Arthur said Clarke described former vice-captain Shane Watson as a cancerous influence on the team.

The skipper said the team were now as united as he'd ever seen under Lehmann.

"It's no coincidence Darren played a big part in that. I think him as a man, as a gentleman brings that to the forefront. He was a great guy to play with and he's no different as a coach," he said.

"Decisions have been made and made for reasons. We've got a fantastic group with a great coach who has united us and we're heading in the right direction."

The reports allege Clarke had described Watson and his faction as "a cancer", with Arthur calling himself the "meat in the sandwich" in the imbroglio.

Brad Haddin, the man who took over from Watson as vice-captain for this Ashes tour, said there was no feud between the opener and captain Clarke.

"The Australian dressing room is fine. There is no feud. I don't know how many times we need to answer that," said Haddin.

Arthur also allegedly said that Watson had tipped him off about the incident in which Australian opener Warner punched English batsman Joe Root in a bar before the series start.

Watson has previously denied that was the case.

Warner was subsequently fined and suspended and has since admitted guilt at playing a part in Arthur's termination.

Arthur went on to say in the tendered document that CA did not support him over the 'homeworkgate affair' where four players were stood down from a Test in India for failing to do an assignment.

He alleged that he was discriminated against because he was from South Africa and did not understand the Australian way.

"We're disappointed it has come to this position but Cricket Australia is confident in its position on this matter and I'm sure it will get resolved in an appropriate fashion," CA lawyer Dean Kino told Seven.

Clarke said he didn't want to trudge over old ground but is confident the drama won't affect team preparations.

"The timing makes no difference to me. It doesn't bother me whatsoever," he said.

"My eyes are focused on one goal and that's on winning this Test match. And I know everyone in that change room is exactly the same."

Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Paul Marsh said he sympathised with Arthur's situation, but is disappointed with the timing of the allegations becoming public.

"At Mickey's departing press conference he talked about taking responsibility for the team's performances and leaving the job with dignity," Marsh said in a statement.

"I fail to see how this course of action is consistent with his words."

- AAP

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