Zeenews Sports Bureau
Mohali: Australia are already 2-0 down in the four-match Test series in India, playing some of the worst cricket they`ve been seen playing in the subcontinent, and just as they thought things couldn`t get any worse, four of their players have been axed from the third `must-win` Test for disciplinary reasons.
The four players who have been dropped are: Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and James Pattinson.
Early reports suggest the four were axed after failing to comply with team orders. The entire 16-man squad was supposed to fill in a written personal review each after their side's massive loss in the second Test at Hyderabad and the axed four had failed to take part in that. The review asked players to reflect on the team's culture and expectations and suggest improvements that need to be made for the upcoming Test match.
Failure to comply with those directives meant the team hierarchy had to take firm steps against the offenders.
Also read: Shane Watson to quit Test cricket?»
While the first two may not be regular first teamers in this tour, the other two - Shane Watson and James Pattinson - will be a big blow for the Aussies. With Wade also injured and Haddin being called upon, the team seems in complete disarray ahead of the Mohali match that begins on March 14.
The four will be officially available, though, for the fourth Test in Delhi, revealed Australian coach Micky Arthur, but the decision to drop them was a 'line in the sand' for Australian cricket.
He also admitted that it was the toughest day of his coaching career, but deemed the strong action necessary in his aim to put Australia back on the top of world cricket. He further added that the four cricketers were 'gutted'.
While addressing the media, Arthur expounded on what had led the Australian team management to take such a stern decision for such a seemingly small breach of discipline.
"Unfortunately four players didn't comply with that. 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 with what we want to do with this team, how we want to take this team to be the best in the world, teams that are the best in the world have best attitudes and best behaviour patterns and a good, hard, ruthless culture. I believe those four players unfortunately did not meet my requirements so those four are not available for selection for this Test match.
"That's a line-in-the-sand moment. We have given these guys absolute clarity. We have given this team a huge amount of time to buy in with what we want to do for the Australian cricket team. We have given a vision to these guys that is spelt out. We've given an expectation that is spelt out and although this incident might seem very small in isolation this is a line-in-the-sand moment for us as a unit in our quest to become the best in the world.
"I think the best thing that these three days off have given me is reflection time, to reflect on how well have I been going in my job, like I expect everyone else to do when you're 2-0 down in the series. Myself and Pup came to the conclusion that we have been so focused on winning cricket games that maybe some people have been cutting corners. Perhaps there have been some soft options taken.
"We decided that we needed to really get that in line."
This means that the Aussies will probably have only 12 players available to them to pick from for the third Test: Michael Clarke (c), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty, Nathan Lyon, Brad Haddin (wk).
First Published: Monday, March 11, 2013, 13:24