Brad Haddin has labelled former Test coach Mickey Arthur “insecure” and accused him of setting the Australian team back in its progress.
Haddin says Arthur’s successor Darren Lehmann has turned Australia’s dressing room and demeanour around ahead of Thursday’s first Ashes Test at the Gabba.
Lehmann is credited with providing the side with stability and for returning players to a brand of cricket that’s made Australia the No.1 Test nation in the past.
Negativity surrounding the Australian team culture has dominated the pre-Ashes build-up, with England shooting for a fourth-straight triumph, but Haddin said it was Arthur who has a lot to answer for.
“(Mickey) was very, very insecure and that came across in a lot of our selections and our plays I think to be perfectly honest,” said Haddin.
“I think (the brand of cricket we want to play) got lost in the period that Mickey had a hold of us.
“I don’t think he understood and was secure enough in himself to get us to where we needed to go.
“Under Darren we’ve got a clear message of where we want to go and how we’re going to get there. He’s able to help guys on the way to get to that point.”
The wheels started falling off Arthur’s hold on the Australian side when he suspended four players in Mohali for not handing in their homework.
Haddin arrived in the middle of that storm as an injury replacement for then wicketkeeper Matt Wade and described the mood as uncomfortable and paranoid.
In giving Lehmann a ringing endorsement, Haddin’s assessment of Arthur’s tenure was stinging.
“That wasn’t the Australian cricket team that I knew when I flew into Mohali,” he said.
“That was a unique situation which in all seriousness I can’t really explain.
“It was uncomfortable, walking into it.
“Guys jumping at shadows and the insecurity around everything that was being done.
“It’s just refreshing to get back here now and enjoy the game for what it is – a great game that’s been great for all of us.”
David Warner, whose pre-Ashes punch on Joe Root contributed to Arthur’s sacking in June, on Tuesday expressed confidence with a clear head in a sign of how the team’s mindset had changed under Lehmann.
“I actually think they (England) are fearing us (ahead of this Ashes series),” Warner said.
“They know we mean business.
“We have identified what we need to work on come those key moments again and it’s there for us to take it this summer.”
As England’s wicketkeeper Matt Prior fights to prove his fitness, Haddin says he’s never felt more comfortable in his game.
Haddin said dealing with the ill-health of daughter Mia last year forced him to drop everything and put cricket on the backburner, with family his No.1 priority.
But the 36-year-old says he never doubted his ability to get back to the top and last series he broke an all-time Test and Ashes record for most dismissals in a five-match series.
Shane Watson is on track to bowl for Australia in the first Test, despite his recent hamstring troubles.
Watson and Haddin also said they were comfortable umpires would be well enough prepared to use the real-time snicko technology that’s been added to the decision review system for this series.