Lehmann inspires great Aussie revival 

IS IT one of those cases when a guy like Mickey Arthur did all the work and then found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, so that now someone else gets to take the credit?

The Australian cricket team's turnaround in performance has been so dramatic in such a short space of time that such a theory is almost plausible.

It is true that five of the Aussies who played the first Test at Trent Bridge in July were not in the side by the time we cleaned up the Proteas last week, but those who were had been subject to the Arthur regime.

It's possible that over the past four months we just happened to meet the then two best teams in the world as they each happened to be falling into decline - an English side that didn't like each other very much anymore, and a South African outfit with its leaders in retirement mode.

But the most widely offered reason seems to be that Darren Lehmann is a genius who has managed to weld a group of players with hibernating talent into the best side in the world in no time at all.

The sudden gelling of the Australians into a fearsome unit has been almost too much like a fairytale - the hapless side that went to England in our winter outplayed by the Old Enemy morphing into the exact opposite in less than six months.

Arthur's axing seemed at the time to be completely bizarre - the latest episode in a series of poor calls that had left the sport's administration looking incompetent and more interested in doing deals with the Indians than anything else.

But the players clearly thought otherwise. Whether the riot act was read to them so they were aware that they had to put up or shut up after the change was made, we yet don't know.

In many ways they were unlucky not to have achieved a better outcome in the English summer. Two of the Tests could have easily gone their way with a bit of luck and a change in the weather.

But in retrospect that would have ruined the sheer splendour of the story that has since emerged - that rags to riches sort of tale that looks so much better when the first part is that much more ragged.

And Lehmann is thus perceived as being even more of a miracle man, Cricket Australia as being full of geniuses and poor old Arthur as having contributed nothing much at all.

The Australian players probably didn't suddenly become more skilful between August and November. If they did then perhaps Arthur needs to be given some credit for the groundwork already done.

But they clearly emerged more motivated and their level of self- belief rose by multiple factors. Even shocking opening sessions in several tests in Australia did nothing to dent the new found confidence.

Much to the surprise of many the juggernaut rolled on into South Africa - albeit with the second Test hiccup, although it made the final Test victory all the more impressive.

The in-depth articles and books on exactly why will be fascinating but those with the facts, should they exist, will be much more interesting.

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