Starc: Australia a closer unit since Lehmann replaced Arthur


Mitchell Starc claims Australia have become a closer side since Mickey Arthur's departure, as they prepare to come up against their old coach in Brisbane next week.

Arthur was appointed as Australia coach in November 2011 and oversaw the infamous 'homework-gate' tour of India that saw four players stood down from the Test team for failing to complete an off-field assignment.

The South African was duly replaced by Darren Lehmann ahead of the 2013 Ashes, but will be reacquainted with his former side on Thursday when Pakistan play the first of three Tests in Australia.

Ahead of the opening contest at The Gabba, Starc described Arthur as a "nice guy", but went on to suggest he and his team-mates have bonded more effectively under Lehmann.

"He [Arthur] has been a coach of an Australian cricket team, he spent some time in domestic cricket in Australia, he'll have a bit of knowledge around The Gabba and some of our players. But our team has changed immensely since he has been put out of the job... we're a lot closer," Starc told reporters in Brisbane.

"Boof [Lehmann] has obviously brought his own coaching theories and concepts into the group, so the group has obviously changed personnel-wise as well. We've developed massively as a squad since the time of Mickey Arthur, and I think all for the better."

Starc hopes Australia can exploit home advantage to gain an early edge in Brisbane, after Pakistan were beaten in each of their two recent Tests in New Zealand.

"They've struggled in New Zealand and probably struggle a little more away from home - they're really comfortable in the UAE," added the left-armer.

"So it's a good opportunity for us in this Test match to assert our dominance first up, [and] make an impression in the first Test of the series, which we all know goes a long way to working out the final result."