Arthur cracks the whip on Aussie four

2013-03-12 00:00

SYDNEY — Australian vice captain Shane Watson and fast bowler James Pattinson are among four players dumped for a breach of team discipline ahead of Thursday’s third Test against India.

Coach Mickey Arthur and team manager Gavin Dovey made the stunning announcement yesterday afternoon as Australia continued preparations for the third leg of the series, which they trail 2-0.

Arthur said Watson and Pattinson, as well as Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson, had failed to deliver a presentation that management had asked all players to complete following the embarrassing innings defeat in Hyderabad.

Players were asked to outline three points on what they bring to the team by e-mail or in person, and given five days to complete the task. The four players did not complete the task by the deadline.

Arthur said the shock axings were a move to maintain standards in team culture, adding: “This is a line in the sand.

“We pride ourselves on attitude. We have given the players a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right. We believe that those behaviours are not consistent with what we want to do with this team, how we want to take this team to be the best in the world.

“I believe those four players unfortunately did not meet my requirements so those four players are not available for selection for this Test match.”

However, Arthur said that the quartet would be available for the final Test in Delhi.

Watson and Pattinson would have been in the eleven on Thursday, while Khawaja was also a strong chance of selection to replace the out-of-form Phil Hughes.

Mitchell Johnson was also in the frame for a call-up.

“I asked the players at the end of the game to give me an individual presentation. I wanted three points from each of them technically, mentally and from a team as to how we were going to get back over the next couple of games, how we were going to get ourselves back into the series,” Arthur said.

According to report on Sky Sport last night, Watson said he is considering quitting cricket after being axed from the Australia squad.

Watson believes that he has been treated unfairly and told the Sydney Morning Herald: “Any time you’re suspended for a Test match unless you do something unbelievably wrong, and obviously everyone knows what those rules are … I think it is very harsh.

“At this point in time I’m at a stage where I’m sort of weighing up my future and what I want to do with my cricket in general, to be honest.”

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