Australia's troubled tour March 11, 2013

Clarke sure friendships will endure

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Michael Clarke is confident there will be no backlash against him from the four players axed for the third Test in Mohali over their failure to complete a task assessing themselves and the team. One of the four men dumped, Clarke's vice-captain Shane Watson, flew home to be with his pregnant wife after the suspension was announced but he also said he would use his time at home to reassess his cricket future.

The other three players, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja, remained with the squad ahead of the Test, which starts on Thursday, and will be considered for selection for the fourth Test in Delhi. The decision to make the quartet ineligible for the Mohali Test was taken by Clarke, the coach Mickey Arthur and the team manager Gavin Dovey in consultation, but Clarke insists his role will not hurt his relationship with the men.

"The players know 100% that this is not about the individual player," Clarke said. "I've made that very clear. The four players are very disappointed that this has happened. They respect the decision. They understand why. It has been made very clear why we have made the decision, as harsh a punishment as they might see it.

"I don't think it will have any impact on my friendship with the four guys because I know I've got the respect of those guys and they know how much I respect them. That's probably why I feel comfortable fronting players on these issues. I think it would be easy to walk away and let things slide. But they know how much I love playing for Australia like they do.

"They know how much I want this team to have success and achieve what I think we can achieve. And you know what? They want the same. There's only one way you get there. It takes the whole team pushing in the same direction. This is not about the individual player. The whole team sits on this level. These are our standards. If you're not hitting it, there's going to be consequences."

The consequences on this occasion are significant not only for the individual players but also for the team, as it leaves Australia with only 12 or 13 men (depending on the fitness of Matthew Wade) available for this week's Test. Brad Haddin was flying out of Australia on Monday to join the group as cover for Wade but could also find himself in with a chance of being included as a specialist batsman even if Wade is passed fit.

"It wasn't a big ask. You let the team down, you let the head coach down. That's unacceptable"
Michael Clarke

It also means that on a pitch that could offer more for the fast bowlers, Australia have only two frontline quicks - Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc - available, alongside the allrounder Moises Henriques. On a surface where they may only have wanted to play one spinner they could now be forced to play at least two of Xavier Doherty, Nathan Lyon and Glenn Maxwell.

"We didn't even look at the name of the players," Clarke said. "That's what has to happen when you sit everyone on the same level, it doesn't matter who you are in this team. If you do not hit the standards it's unacceptable. Now we have a squad of 12 players to select 11 from. We'll pick the best 11 we have out of 12; 13 because Haddin is coming as well.

"It has huge impact on the team for the third Test match. But it's why you pick a squad. It gives somebody else an opportunity. And that's the biggest risk in this game. You give somebody else an opportunity and you might never get another chance. That's what's happened here. It gives four new blokes a chance at playing a Test match and grabbing hold of this opportunity."

The fact that Australia will now enter a Test without their vice-captain and leading wicket-taker in the series is potentially calamitous after the team lost by an innings in the previous Test in Hyderabad. But Clarke said after the build-up of players not falling into line in recent times, an example had to be made.

"There is no right time, there is no right punishment," Clarke said. "I don't think it's about picking and choosing. The fact is that we have a standard that we're trying to set, we have goals that we're trying to achieve and at the moment we're not hitting our standards. It wasn't a big ask. You let the team down, you let the head coach down. That's unacceptable.

"Our support staff are spending time one on one with players to help them improve their game slowly. I feel partly like a coach as well as a captain. At training we talk about spin bowling, I feel like I'm coaching. But we are a playing group - and there is no exception - we as a playing group have to be helping ourselves as well."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • MMahmood1 on March 12, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    Actually these things emerge when the team start losing, Most cases captains don't take the responsibilities. In my view clark is too aggressive as a captain, he needs to sit back and wait for his opportunity to be aggresive. On the first day of captaincy you can never be ponting or Imran Khan, it takes ages to built that reputation with results. Then everyone will backs otherwise it will be a case of losing players confidence and results will go down :). Will see

  • couchpundit on March 12, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    LOL Michael Clarke..who had not discipline to wait and sing Team song...is talking about players not doing their home work.

    Poor Mickey.....lot of blame is on him....for clarkes devious design's.

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 12, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    I know that team management in many countries is often ridiculed but this is the worst mismanagement by an Australian management in a long time.

  • thinktank1 on March 12, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    It's better if these things r not published to press.. what is the need? Just do watever u want to do and get the results. Ultimately results matter.. not explanations.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 12, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    If you want to test commitment, then you require the players to conform to uncomfortable (but useful) measures like an early team curfew, or longer and more rigorous training hours.You don't hand out homework assignments requiring players to provide guidance and direction to team management. It's supposed to work the other way around. If that's the sort of thing you want to do, then what you're really testing is the tolerance of players for pointless menial work that does not enhance the team performance and in fact actively encourages the team to play the blame game. But we have to go with this and hopefully Patts, Khawaja, and Johnson come back strongly as they are key players for this series and the ashes.

  • Aspraso on March 12, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    How much can these guys (Clarke, Arthur & Co) be trusted? Aren't they the same guys who were talking all the positives about Lyon after the 1st test and then dropped him from the 2nd test.

  • katandthat3 on March 12, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I think there are quite a few players around Australian Cricket that might have a different opinion to that, Michael. Past & Present. I think Clarke is an excellent tactical skipper and an excellent batsman. There are some massive issues here in the set-up and what hasn't helped has been the ineptitude of cricket management of players, mind boggling selections & injuries to name a few. With that has bred mistrust, selfishness and lack of enjoyment in representing your country. Time to dispense with all this PC micro-management and get one with cricket fundamentals.

  • rajeshonam on March 12, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    What Clarke & Company did is absolutely right. Discipline comes first in all walks of life including sports.

  • .Raina on March 12, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Can't understand why the guys need to do this 'homework' in isolation/on their own. A better way to handle any Team / Group issues and/or to collect any ideas would have been to sit around over a beer/snack/lunch/dinner and handle it face-to-face. There seems to be something more behind this.....looks like a process used in Big Brother to nominate guys for EVICTION.....termed as 'Peer Performance Review' in management circles.....

  • ozind95 on March 12, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    It seems that Clarke and Watson have not been seeing eye to eye for a while.

  • MMahmood1 on March 12, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    Actually these things emerge when the team start losing, Most cases captains don't take the responsibilities. In my view clark is too aggressive as a captain, he needs to sit back and wait for his opportunity to be aggresive. On the first day of captaincy you can never be ponting or Imran Khan, it takes ages to built that reputation with results. Then everyone will backs otherwise it will be a case of losing players confidence and results will go down :). Will see

  • couchpundit on March 12, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    LOL Michael Clarke..who had not discipline to wait and sing Team song...is talking about players not doing their home work.

    Poor Mickey.....lot of blame is on him....for clarkes devious design's.

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 12, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    I know that team management in many countries is often ridiculed but this is the worst mismanagement by an Australian management in a long time.

  • thinktank1 on March 12, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    It's better if these things r not published to press.. what is the need? Just do watever u want to do and get the results. Ultimately results matter.. not explanations.

  • Paul_Rampley on March 12, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    If you want to test commitment, then you require the players to conform to uncomfortable (but useful) measures like an early team curfew, or longer and more rigorous training hours.You don't hand out homework assignments requiring players to provide guidance and direction to team management. It's supposed to work the other way around. If that's the sort of thing you want to do, then what you're really testing is the tolerance of players for pointless menial work that does not enhance the team performance and in fact actively encourages the team to play the blame game. But we have to go with this and hopefully Patts, Khawaja, and Johnson come back strongly as they are key players for this series and the ashes.

  • Aspraso on March 12, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    How much can these guys (Clarke, Arthur & Co) be trusted? Aren't they the same guys who were talking all the positives about Lyon after the 1st test and then dropped him from the 2nd test.

  • katandthat3 on March 12, 2013, 6:45 GMT

    I think there are quite a few players around Australian Cricket that might have a different opinion to that, Michael. Past & Present. I think Clarke is an excellent tactical skipper and an excellent batsman. There are some massive issues here in the set-up and what hasn't helped has been the ineptitude of cricket management of players, mind boggling selections & injuries to name a few. With that has bred mistrust, selfishness and lack of enjoyment in representing your country. Time to dispense with all this PC micro-management and get one with cricket fundamentals.

  • rajeshonam on March 12, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    What Clarke & Company did is absolutely right. Discipline comes first in all walks of life including sports.

  • .Raina on March 12, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    Can't understand why the guys need to do this 'homework' in isolation/on their own. A better way to handle any Team / Group issues and/or to collect any ideas would have been to sit around over a beer/snack/lunch/dinner and handle it face-to-face. There seems to be something more behind this.....looks like a process used in Big Brother to nominate guys for EVICTION.....termed as 'Peer Performance Review' in management circles.....

  • ozind95 on March 12, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    It seems that Clarke and Watson have not been seeing eye to eye for a while.

  • Rahul_78 on March 12, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    Seems to be an issue of old school versus new age. Clarke is the same guy who was grabbed by his throat on the issue of team song by his team mate. There seems to be massive difference in ideology. Dont think the four cricketers might have been lacking in their commitment. But they might have scoffed at preparing presentations to improve team performance. I guess the whole scenario is failure on part of Captain, Vice captain and Coach. These guys form the leadership role and there seems to be lack of communication between them. Clarke might be right in his priorities and ideology of going forward. But at the same time he and coach needs to understand that you cant measure everyone with same yardstick. It could have definitely handed in a better way. AUS have already lost Symonds on something similar line. AUS at this stage of rebuilding the team cant afford to loose the caliber of players of Watson and Pattinson in particular.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on March 12, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    first rotation policy to rest best bowlers against SA in recent summer series in aust. now this. i'm looking forward to what comes next out of Mickey & Clarke circus !

    i thought Mickey was the coach not the players handing in presentations on how to improve team and themselves??

  • jmcilhinney on March 12, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    @Prabhjot Grewal on (March 11, 2013, 23:02 GMT), I don't necessarily agree with that. The problem is that, while someone like Maradona could get away without training at 100% and still be brilliant on game day, others can't. When others see someone getting away with that sort of thing then resentments can easily build up. It also sets and example when someone that everyone else looks up to does not put in 100% then there's a high likelihood that others will be inclined to follow suit, whether consciously or subconsciously.

  • .Raina on March 12, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    It is hard to see that MJC would have many friends left around him now. He has been getting rid of his competition (with his arrogance) for a long time now -- Symonds, Katich, Hussey.....and many more. He has grown up in a culturally diverse region of Sydney, but seems to have forgotten to respect diversity in his team --- My way or Highway type leaders don't built successful teams for the long run. No one can doubt his personal contribution & success after being elevated to be the leader, but at the same time he hasn't been able to get the best out of the rest of his team. Their contributions/performances have actually been going Down Down Down.....A team that has some of the best talent available in Australia. From outside, it looks like he along with the S.African Coach focus too much on PowerPoint Management and less on Skill / Team Development. It is still hard to understand how / why they make decisions to demoralise a budding talent. Prob.Dilbert could have provided some Answers

  • Rohit... on March 12, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    Axe players from the team because they didn't give a simple presentation ... And guarantee of friendship ... Grow up Clarke !!! I am your fan but your captaincy and dirty politics are making me to have a 2nd thoughts.

  • manisacumen on March 12, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    I was initially baffled (but secretly happy too because india will not surely lose from here), but now I understand the decision. I firmly feel there is no politics here. It just shows that when you play for Australia, you play to win and you have to be serious about that. Not like playing for India (I am an Indian and no enemy of Indian cricketers) where you play for individual success, place and pelf, without any feeling of pain over loss. I hope Indian cricketers follow suit which they never will. From this moment, I really want to be a fan of Australian Cricket. The homework may seem childish, but the punishment will serve to warn other cricketers that they can't take their places for granted. Well done Clarke. You did it for Australian cricket sake. I hope Dhoni takes a leaf out of your book. When will Indian cricketers be ruthless like this?

  • himanshu.team on March 12, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    How can he even dream that these 4 would be 'friends' with him? Even if one or two were his best buddies, the relationship would never have been the same after this incident. Plus, he has now instilled fear among the rest of the group as well. The focus will more be on complying to captain and coach's demands rather than the game itself. Pup: Sorry Mate. You have just made sure that you are not going to have a very cordial relationship with your men.

  • POLLY1951 on March 12, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    I am with bobagorof...this list grows with Clarke in the team...Katich , Symonds, Hussey....does not take much management experience to see where the culture problems come from. MC has been a negative in the team since getting selected with a first class average in the 30's. Had one really good season. I do believe in discipline , but think the coach & manager needs to look closely at cause & effect !

  • rajpan on March 12, 2013, 3:33 GMT

    Training and management, nowadays, is too much theory and less of practicals. The Coaches tend to be intellectuals and walk two feet above the ground. Poor players have to sweat it out with there feet firmly on ground !! More belief in players should be the way to go. Back to the basics boys !!

  • on March 12, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Micheal Clarke u are the worst captain of your country.You have dropped Watson who was not in good form but he is the vice captain of Australian team.You are going to loose these test series by 4-0 because u don't have good pace attack nor good spin attack.You are gone MICHEAL CLARKE

  • on March 12, 2013, 3:14 GMT

    Here is the real reason - Australians now have an excuse for losing the series, they will say they lost because their best players were not playing...well done clarke...

  • maddy20 on March 12, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    Drop the three players who are your best chance of turning things around(Watson had it coming so I said three) because they refused to do some silly excercise? Pattinson bowled his heart out, so honestly, I don't think this silly excuse is actually a good enough reason to drop him. The other two have not played a game, but anyone with a wee bit of common sense would have thought these two have a solid chance of making the next game, given the debacles of Hughes and Siddle. Well who knows what might happen to the Australians these days. Winning and losing is part and parcel of the game. But hare-brained decisions can affect the balance of the team in the long run!

  • satishchandar on March 12, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    Mr.Clarke. You don't ask the players on how to improve. If the player is not going to improve as per ur views, throw him out and pick the reserve one. Stop it. How can u ask a reserve player on how to improve. A Khawaja would have been very comfortable facing a Maxwell or Lyon or Doherty in nets and he wouldn't have had any issues. It is the duty of the support staffs. Yes they were given assignment and didn't do it. But speaking sincerely, the assignment itself is not supposed to be given to the players hands.

  • sawifan on March 12, 2013, 3:07 GMT

    @wiseshah... Clarke is not there to be best-buddies, he is there to direct the team into a winning position, and if players are lacking the correct attitude, then he needs to stamp some authority, that is why he is there! This isn't the Aussie team from the '90's-'00's, we can't afford to believe everything is fine and these things can go on. Clarke's era is more like that of AB's, the original 'captain grumpy'! I still remember AB having an on-field fight with McDermott and threatening to send him home in the middle of an Ashes test (in a series we were winning!). Clarke's era is one of extreme media scrutiny, where many still just don't like the guy for his past image. Clarke is Australia's way forward, like it or not, and this seems to be the message here, especially to Watson i feel.

  • Naren on March 12, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    If he says friendship will continue it means they will never find themselves in the team again. Remember... Symonds. This is not like the team broke a curfew or something. It should not have come in public in first place.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on March 12, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    Clarke just wants yes men. add these players to katich, both husseys, okeefe and others. he with this act has lost a lot of respect from the public. even ponting wouldn't have put up with this

  • Alexk400 on March 12, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    Can some one remove him and coach quickly. I am ok with batting now but captaincy not a chance. Get rid of him before it gets bad.

  • srriaj317 on March 12, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    If I was Usman Khawaja, I would have no motivation whatsoever to stay on this tour anymore. How would I be able to trust Clarke and Arthurt? Despite being technically better than Hughes for these conditions, he doesn't even get a string of chances to fail. He has had no match practice for more than a month so how is he going to be able to push his claim for a spot? Meanwhile, Queensland have to play 3/4 Shield games without him back home. They just lost a crucial game to Tas after a 2nd inns collapse. Khawaja just runs out drinks to the players foregoing 6 weeks of match practice and finally gets fired despite having no contribution in the series performances yet. Better fly across to NZ to get a chance.

  • Barnesy4444 on March 12, 2013, 2:26 GMT

    There are several fast bowlers taking wickets in Sheffield Shield at the moment. I'm sure any one of them would jump at the chance to be flown to India to play a one-off test. Much better option than playing 2 1/2 spinners.

  • wiseshah on March 12, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    yeah friendship will continue--u kick out them from team and u are hoping they will remain best buddy. nice dream clarke

  • on March 12, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    I sense a rather optimistic pup, in that he doesn't seem to think that they'll take it personally. A bit naive, I'd think. I do feel for the team management at the moment, they're attempting to strengthen the team as a unit, and not as a number of individuals, but these measures tend to have counterproductive effects, take the case of KP last year. Didn't they have the authority to impose a hefty fine on the players? That is quite a deterrent. I understand that they were given a day of grace-time, but they quite clearly were not aware of the gravity of the situation. A (hard) slap on the wrist would have sufficed for this, were this the first case of such a problem.

    There probably is a lot more to this than what meets the eye.

  • RAVI71 on March 12, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    Hey Clarkey I think you are fiddling around too much with the team, Mate. You probably have to learn from Great captains like AB, SW, how they went about their captaincy when their teams were struggling.

  • Flemo_Gilly on March 12, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    The coach should not have to request, and set deadlines, for players input on how to make the team better. If the players genuinely cared about the teams performance then that info on how to improve would come forward voluntarily. You can't MAKE players give input into team performance. The players have to WANT to give input.For mine, this is the number one indicator of "team culture". If you have to force individuals to think about team issues then you have lost it. Just like you cant force players to hang around in the dressing sheds after a game (the ultimate team meeting), they have to want to be there.Watson deserves more credit, he is our vice captain. Khawaja the poor bugger can never get a go and hopefully he gets one soon and Johnson deserved a game as well on a fast Mohali pitch. Blaming the 4 players is not right, the real issue that has come to the surface is how out of touch the management are from their team.

  • ozzierulze on March 12, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    Then why not just give them a team fine for not giving that poor excuse for a manager his desired homework assignment. If he honestly does not think this has caused splinters in the relationship he is full of himself too. These guys can now sell themselves off to county cricket and the multiple t20 formats around the world and make a great living. Just ask Tait and Nannes.

  • rock_kar on March 12, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    Tough but if a majority of them didnt turn up for the presentation, would they have dismissed all of them? I guess they would have been selective. One can argue this both ways. I agree with the decision in the sense that neither Watson nor Pattinson could stop India win 2-0. I guess that was an easy decision, as a result of that.

  • on March 12, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    lets play devil advocate for a moment, what wud u have done if seven players had refuse to write those points?now that u have suggestions from at least 14 different people, how and when u going to implement those suggestions? remember 14x3, couple days before the third test.

  • Raju_Iyer on March 12, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    I disagree with Clarke's assertion that there is no right time, it is not as if these players were caught taking drugs or something so drastic. In sport as in life, there are principles of natural justice. A good leader has to also strive to get the timing of such decisions right. Are these players devoid of human emotion that if they get a chance to play in the 4 th test, this incident will not play on their minds? If this is such a big deal, then they should all have been sent home. The human mind cannot compartmentalize and switch on and off at will.

  • cricmatters on March 11, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    Typical example of using a sledge hammer instead of a fly swatter. Clarke says it won't affect his future relationship with these players. Is Andrew Symonds still on your Christmas card list Clarky? Say Good Bye to any hopes of winning Ashes back for few years.

  • Flemo_Gilly on March 11, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    This is all absolutely absurd. As if writing a little report is going to make you a better cricketer. Instead of giving players essays to write, how about they practice their skills? We are wrecking this side with their stupid team culture, pick the best blokes approach. Try picking the best XI players Australia has. Give Khawaja and Johnson a game as they havne't played the series, Pattisnon is our best bowler, what did he do wrong. Watson is our Vc. Go out there, score runs, take wickets, hold catches. That's what wins test cricket matches. Not "outline three points on what you bring to the team". Complete joke. We have our work cut out winning this series, how are we then supposed to win with a depleted version of that.

  • on March 11, 2013, 23:28 GMT

    cowan, smith, maxwell, lyon, doherty and johnson should be axed for the next ashes series. i would pick this squad for ashes series in england. 1. warner 2.hughes 3. doolan 4.clarke 5. burns 6.henriques 7.wade 8.agar 9.siddle 10.pattinson 11.bird reserve 12.khawaja 13. watson 14.starc 15.haddin 16.fawad ahmed 17. harris

  • on March 11, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    when is usman khawaja gonna get the chance to play for australia? the management have treated him very badly. watson and johnson do not deserve to play for australia in test. both have been very average for the last two years. pattinson would have been rested for the third test anyway. australia need to pick new batsmen for the ashes series. cowan has been useless. hughes should be given the chance to open the batting with warner. doolan and burns should be in the ashes series with ashton agar and fawad ahmed as spinners.

  • hmmmmm... on March 11, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    If it's about the team, how about a few extra laps of the field after the rest go home as punishment. By removing them from selection you've shot the entire team in the foot if it now means you have to play more than one of smith/maxwell/doherty/lyon/henriques! there are no other batsmen to come in for watson so that means you have warner,cowan and clark....then a whole lot of nothing batting: hughes (who must have surely been in line to be dropped before this happened), wade, and the no-rounders! regardless of how well clark is batting perhaps the entire selection panel should be suspended for a while for the ridiculously unbalanced squad that has been assembled for this tour!

  • on March 11, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    While not condoning indiscipline the team should always pick its best eleven. I remember Diego Maradona was never keen on training.

  • SurlyCynic on March 11, 2013, 22:56 GMT

    I'm sure his friendships will endure. After all, KP still sends friendly tweets to the other South Africans despite his disciplinary incident.

  • bobagorof on March 11, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    "I don't think it will have any impact on my friendship with the four guys because I know I've got the respect of those guys and they know how much I respect them"

    I wonder how Simon Katich feels about this situation.

  • khalidSami on March 11, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    I think the real failure was Australian selector unable to select proper personnel in the matches. In the first test they went with 4 pacemen and 1 spinner while India had 3 spinners. In the 2nd test they dropped their best spinner and went with 2 least experienced spinners.

    Moreover, Allrounder Steve Smith having played in India and was very successful in IPL is sitting on the bench while Hughes and Cowan with no spin playing experience are in the top order.

    The Coach and captain have their priorities wrong, they need to look into their role critically and stop passing the blame elsewhere. Finally, stop talking about top ranking first start playing good cricket.

  • on March 11, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    @Micheal Clarke: "these are our standards, and if you are not hitting it there will be consequenses.." Questions: does everyone understand what is expected of them? Is this the first time the standards have not been met? What has Clarke done in the past to remedy situations where players have not met the standard? Did he meet with these players and discuss his expectations? Did any player get a warning notice that they will be punished if this or that happens the next time? Or is this how we administer discipline at the highest level of the game by demoralising world class players and destroying their careers?

  • on March 11, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    Who made Clarke captain? He is not captain material at all!!! He has no clue how to mange his team! Instaed of having a brainstorming session and trying to get good ideas from team on how to improve collectively, he goes and asks them to write 3 points individually on how to mprove their game??? Clarke should be forced to take Business Management 101 before he is allowed to play the next game!!! He has totally destroyed the morale of the team and especially a senior player like Watson. And exactly what was Johnston and Khawaja supposed to write? "I can be a better bench warmer if .........".Or perhaps they should have written, " Remove Clarke from captaincy and see the improvement by the team". What a joker!!!

  • Vilander on March 11, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    a tough talk within the team might have been better..

  • on March 11, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    Anything but a leader. This is right up there with a series of arrogantly stupid declarations that have blown games for the team. If Clarke were smart, he'd have rewarded the guys who answered the childish homework question rather than penalise four. If he were really smart, he would have questioned Arthur's schoolboy assignment to professional cricketers already chosen to play for their country. If Michael Clarke questions anyone's desire to play for Australia, well... they have all been selected on skills apparently and they are all there. I'd give the players intentions of playing for Australia the benefit of the doubt. Take it as read and be a leader rather than come up with inane devisive questions that create turmoil in individuals and teams.

  • on March 11, 2013, 22:01 GMT

    How to destroy Australian cricket: over the top severe punishment. Wake up Clarke.

  • on March 11, 2013, 21:10 GMT

    I wish Warne would talk some sense into Clarke, at least try before he is ejected from the job.

  • KanchanBNZ on March 11, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    Isn't a coach paid to help form the ideas? Also - is it too much to suggest that Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja probably thought "select me - that is what we could do differently?"

  • stumpedlloyd on March 11, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Clarke's quote, "If you do not hit the standards it's unacceptable." I don't understand what not coming up with three points on how you can improve has to do with hitting standards. Also, two of the Gang of Four hadn't played in either test. How exactly were Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were they going to improve their performances if they didn't play. Unless, of course, Clarke and Arthur meant Mitch and Usman should smile more when carrying drinks. Which is entirely possible.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 11, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    I think Pup is expecting BIG things out of thin air. You BETCHA those 4 players are going to HATE Clarke for the rest of their lives. You cannot fix a mirror with cracks. It's sure gonna shatter sooner or later. What's done is done Pup.. no use of candy words to mask your deficiencies. Expect these 4 players to become your new opponents in the near future. I have also played sport at college level and whenever you drop a player due to no valid reason, they come back to bite you when you least expect it. So watch out Michael Clarke !

  • hhillbumper on March 11, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    so tell me did Aus lose the first two tests because of a lack of unity or talent?

    i would have loved to read Phil Hughes 3 points.Maybe don't sweep, watch the ball and sorry would be a good start

  • AKS286 on March 11, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    Suddenly Clarke's voice is changing. on the fifth column of this article it is written-- "Clarke's vice-captain Shane Watson". I think Watson is the V. Captain of Australia not Clarke's.

  • agamgoyal on March 11, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Clarke trying to do a MSD by giving this kind of explanation :P Nevertheless, discipline comes first .

  • zeus_kris on March 11, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    This is ridiculous. Two of the players (Khawaja & Mitch) didn't even play a test this tour. What are they supposed to write on how to make the team better? I think they were axed just to make sure that Hughes & Siddle can remain in the team. Selectors & Clarke are doing this just to keep their favorites in the team. Watson is just collateral damage in this farce, and it didn't matter to them as he was not scoring runs. I hope that Hughes & Siddle fail once again in Mohali to showcase their real worthlessness. What will the selectors do then?

  • on March 11, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    This is something that every team should learn from that complacency is not allowed in any form of the Sport. I wish the Indian team would have done the same thing after the back to back losses to England and Australia in the away series. There seems to be some change under Sandip Patil's selection panel where players like Gautam Gambir and Sehwag were out of the team after poor show. I hope India makes best use of the situation and win the series 4-1.

  • on March 11, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    As an Indian supporter, I am proud of the way Clarke has conducted himself so far this tour. It takes a lot of mental strength to openly admit that there is something wrong with the team. This was something MS Dhoni failed to acknowledge during the recent drubbings against England (home and away), and against Australia (away). Perhaps the cricketing culture is different in India, anyhow, it still takes a lot of guts. In fact, Australia are on the same plane as India are with regards to their test team. India may have won the last 2 games but there are far too many issues within Indian cricket itself. We still don't have a good bowling unit, no settled opening pair, the middle order looks rusty with only Kohli and Dhoni providing any impetus. So both teams have problems. Regardless of the outcome in this series, I think both teams have a plethora of challenges. I wouldn't push the panic button yet if I were Clarke. Just play your best players and hope for the best.

  • ramli on March 11, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    why all this flowery talk after taking a harsh as well as a hasty decision ... may be the whole thing was an act to distract the Indian palyers from winning ways???

  • shripadk on March 11, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Sorry PUP, but that is delusional. There is already backlash. Watson is already considering his future with the team. And drop the players if you want. There was no need to make this public drama of announcing it to the whole world. That is not mature behaviour for the a management. How is this suppose to help team morale? They have already become laughing stock for everybody. This feels more like middle school justice. If there was seriously disruptive behaviour by these players, send them packing home. Minor things needs to be handled like adults.

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  • shripadk on March 11, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Sorry PUP, but that is delusional. There is already backlash. Watson is already considering his future with the team. And drop the players if you want. There was no need to make this public drama of announcing it to the whole world. That is not mature behaviour for the a management. How is this suppose to help team morale? They have already become laughing stock for everybody. This feels more like middle school justice. If there was seriously disruptive behaviour by these players, send them packing home. Minor things needs to be handled like adults.

  • ramli on March 11, 2013, 19:05 GMT

    why all this flowery talk after taking a harsh as well as a hasty decision ... may be the whole thing was an act to distract the Indian palyers from winning ways???

  • on March 11, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    As an Indian supporter, I am proud of the way Clarke has conducted himself so far this tour. It takes a lot of mental strength to openly admit that there is something wrong with the team. This was something MS Dhoni failed to acknowledge during the recent drubbings against England (home and away), and against Australia (away). Perhaps the cricketing culture is different in India, anyhow, it still takes a lot of guts. In fact, Australia are on the same plane as India are with regards to their test team. India may have won the last 2 games but there are far too many issues within Indian cricket itself. We still don't have a good bowling unit, no settled opening pair, the middle order looks rusty with only Kohli and Dhoni providing any impetus. So both teams have problems. Regardless of the outcome in this series, I think both teams have a plethora of challenges. I wouldn't push the panic button yet if I were Clarke. Just play your best players and hope for the best.

  • on March 11, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    This is something that every team should learn from that complacency is not allowed in any form of the Sport. I wish the Indian team would have done the same thing after the back to back losses to England and Australia in the away series. There seems to be some change under Sandip Patil's selection panel where players like Gautam Gambir and Sehwag were out of the team after poor show. I hope India makes best use of the situation and win the series 4-1.

  • zeus_kris on March 11, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    This is ridiculous. Two of the players (Khawaja & Mitch) didn't even play a test this tour. What are they supposed to write on how to make the team better? I think they were axed just to make sure that Hughes & Siddle can remain in the team. Selectors & Clarke are doing this just to keep their favorites in the team. Watson is just collateral damage in this farce, and it didn't matter to them as he was not scoring runs. I hope that Hughes & Siddle fail once again in Mohali to showcase their real worthlessness. What will the selectors do then?

  • agamgoyal on March 11, 2013, 19:48 GMT

    Clarke trying to do a MSD by giving this kind of explanation :P Nevertheless, discipline comes first .

  • AKS286 on March 11, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    Suddenly Clarke's voice is changing. on the fifth column of this article it is written-- "Clarke's vice-captain Shane Watson". I think Watson is the V. Captain of Australia not Clarke's.

  • hhillbumper on March 11, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    so tell me did Aus lose the first two tests because of a lack of unity or talent?

    i would have loved to read Phil Hughes 3 points.Maybe don't sweep, watch the ball and sorry would be a good start

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 11, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    I think Pup is expecting BIG things out of thin air. You BETCHA those 4 players are going to HATE Clarke for the rest of their lives. You cannot fix a mirror with cracks. It's sure gonna shatter sooner or later. What's done is done Pup.. no use of candy words to mask your deficiencies. Expect these 4 players to become your new opponents in the near future. I have also played sport at college level and whenever you drop a player due to no valid reason, they come back to bite you when you least expect it. So watch out Michael Clarke !

  • stumpedlloyd on March 11, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Clarke's quote, "If you do not hit the standards it's unacceptable." I don't understand what not coming up with three points on how you can improve has to do with hitting standards. Also, two of the Gang of Four hadn't played in either test. How exactly were Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were they going to improve their performances if they didn't play. Unless, of course, Clarke and Arthur meant Mitch and Usman should smile more when carrying drinks. Which is entirely possible.