Aussie team meet over Katich axing
Sydney: A player meeting has cleared the air after opener Simon Katich`s controversial axing ahead of Australia`s tour of Sri Lanka next month, captain Michael Clarke said on Friday.
Clarke called the players together so they could express their views behind closed doors in the fallout over the senior Test opener`s dumping from Cricket Australia`s central contracted list.
Katich reacted by revealing there was unease within the Test team about selection decisions, while Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson have publicly expressed their surprise over the opener`s treatment.
Clarke said after the team meeting every player was prepared to focus on the Sri Lankan tour starting with an Australian training camp in Brisbane this week.
"We had a couple of really good meetings on Sunday night, which were really open in an environment where guys were comfortable to voice their opinion," Clarke told reporters.
"It was a closed environment which gave everyone the freedom to be themselves and say what they feel, get everything on the table. It was very positive.”
"I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to say what they had to say and take it on board -- as a group, we can now work together.”
"We all walked out of that looking forward to what was in front of us."
Australian coach Tim Nielsen said this week that Katich`s axing was a clear sign that the national selectors wanted to "regenerate" the team.
But Clarke said players won`t be "looking over their shoulder" on the Sri Lankan tour, where he will make his debut as fulltime Test captain since taking over from Ricky Ponting, who remains in the Test team as a batsman.
"Not at all. The boys are now feeling very comfortable," he said.
"What has come from this camp is not only some hard work but everyone getting behind each other to work toward our goal of having as much success as we can.”
"Unfortunately in this game, some people do get dropped but it is about supporting your mates and getting the best out of your team."
Australia will play two Twenty20s, five one-dayers and three Tests in Sri Lanka from August.
Clarke said he hopes the Sri Lankan tour will herald a new era in Australian cricket, especially with former players Steve Rixon, Craig McDermott and Justin Langer added to the coaching staff.
"We`ve got some new coaching staff and some new exciting youngsters in the squad," Clarke said.
"I guess it is a new start and we are all looking forward to getting as much success in all three forms as we can."