Australia's troubled tour

Pattinson regrets 'letting the team down'

Brydon Coverdale

March 12, 2013

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Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson during net practice, Lord's, June 28, 2012
James Pattinson: "It comes down to preparation for a Test, you can prepare in the nets ... but preparing off the field as well is just as important" © Getty Images
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James Pattinson has conceded he did not take his axeing from the Test side well on Monday but has come around to the realisation the severe punishment was necessary for letting his team-mates down. Pattinson, Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were all told they would not be considered for the Mohali Test starting on Thursday due to their failure to complete a task on how they and the team could improve following the innings loss in Hyderabad.

After the decision was made by the coach Mickey Arthur, captain Michael Clarke and team manager Gavin Dovey, Watson flew home to be with his pregnant wife but also said he would consider his future as a cricketer. Pattinson, Johnson and Khawaja remained with the squad and trained as usual on Tuesday, and they will be available for selection for the fourth Test in Delhi after serving their one-match penalty in Mohali.

"We had a training session yesterday and we apologised to the team about it," Pattinson said on Tuesday. "It does hurt, missing a Test match. It's not only that, you let your team down as well. At the time I was told I was quite upset. At the start I didn't take it as well as I probably could have. The easy thing for me was to make excuses and say it's a harsh punishment.

"But the reality is it's not - it's part of playing cricket for Australia. You've got to do everything right. It wasn't hard for the other 12 blokes to get it in on time and they took the time out to really reflect and do what's best for the team whereas we four didn't. Right now I'm still hurting about it but in the long run I think it's going to make us a better team."

Following the loss by an innings and 135 runs, the tenth biggest margin for an Australian defeat in Test history, Arthur asked every player in the squad to think about where they and the team had gone wrong and could improve. They were given four days to complete the task and while 12 did so by the Saturday night deadline, four had still not by Monday morning.

"It was one of those things where I didn't put in 100% for the team," Pattinson said. "At this level you can't forget. It's pretty cut throat and personally not good enough. It wasn't a hard task at all and it was something that was very valuable for the team going forward. It comes down to preparation for a Test, you can prepare in the nets and the batting, bowling and fielding but preparing off the field as well is just as important.

"It shows a lack of respect to the coach, the captain as well, and the rest of the team. I know if I was in their position, as a team member, I'd be quite disappointed in them for being a bit selfish. People talk about it as a harsh punishment but looking deeply into it you realise probably it's not. If you want to be part of the Australian cricket team you have to do everything right. It's not acceptable. I believe it's the right punishment. Everyone in the group needs to understand that this is the lengths we need to go to to be successful as a team."

On Monday, Clarke and Arthur were at pains to stress that their extreme decision was the result not only of the players failing to complete this task, but also because the squad in general had been lax over the course of the tour and an example needed to be made. The initial reaction from a number of former players was one of disbelief that four men would be left out due to what might have seemed a trivial oversight, but Pattinson said in a young playing group he understood the need to build a positive culture.

"They're entitled to their opinion and a lot of the players that are saying that were great players and they probably didn't have to deal with this stuff because they were in a period of time when they were on top of the world," Pattinson said. "We're in a different position. We're trying to build a culture. We've got a lot of young guys. I think other people are starting to come around a bit more and understand the reasons behind it.

"It's not massive things. A lot of people are saying it's just for not handing something in but it's more than that. It's little things like sometimes being late for something. You can give fines for that but that's only so much. You talk about being late to things, the worst thing is actually being excluded from something. Being excluded from the team, being excluded from playing a Test match. That's what hurts the most."

Australia will miss Watson in Mohali, the venue where he made his last Test century, but Pattinson will be arguably an even bigger loss on a pitch expected to offer more bounce for the fast men. Pattinson has taken eight wickets at 23.62 on this tour so far, twice as many wickets as any other Australian bowler, but he said the bigger picture for Australia was not just about this Mohali Test but about creating a strong team structure in the longer term.

"Hopefully we've got the talent to one day be a great team," Pattinson said. "We've got a huge period with the back-to-back Ashes that are going to be important. I think we must get these little niggling things out of the way now and send a message that come Ashes time we will be ready to go - and united as a group - to perform there, because the Ashes are massive for us and we are striving to get back against the Poms."

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

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Posted by zenboomerang on (March 14, 2013, 2:47 GMT)

@JG2704... I understand your point re: Mitch, Ussie & felt sorry for them but this was not an isolated case...

As far as adding their thoughts on team improvement - it can be a glass half full or empty scenario... They could have given positives including helping team mates prepare better in different ways or even through their own more positive attitude to training & preparation... As far as any criticism goes - generalising about the whole team would come across as constructive analysis i.e. the batsmen played too many sweep or across the line shots or the bowlers didn't contain the batsmen enough to put more pressure on them, etc... Its just how you say it...

Posted by JG2704 on (March 13, 2013, 20:24 GMT)

@Chris_P on (March 12, 2013, 6:18 GMT) The problem to me is that (with Mitch and Waj in particular) I could see it as an exercise which could lead to disharmony in the squad. Out of interest what could those 2 guys say which wouldn't have come across as critical of either their team mates or the management?

Posted by JG2704 on (March 13, 2013, 20:21 GMT)

@zenboomerang on (March 13, 2013, 10:03 GMT) Yeah , I'm just not sure what these players (Mitch and Waj) could have said without coming across as either criticising fellow players or the captain/management? They couldn't really be self critical as they didn't even play.

I don't know who is firing in Oz domestic cricket but of the players you mentioned Rogers seems to do well in the English domestic game

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 13, 2013, 10:03 GMT)

@JG2704... Take this with a grain of salt :)

1. All squad members were asked for input, regardless of who played or not.

2. The 4 disiplined players have a record of back-chat or giving attitude to management over a long period of time - imagine Flower / Gooch putting up with that !

3. The selectors have gone out on a binge for years imagining that inexperienced boys can do what men have already dealt with for many years - i.e. Rogers, Hodge, D Huss, Bailey, Voges, Doolan, Butterworth... My squad for Eng would include at least 3 of these players...

Posted by JG2704 on (March 13, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

@ Meety on (March 13, 2013, 6:15 GMT) Re not filling out the health report then fair enough , but what could Waj and Mitch have said without risking offending any of their team mates? Maybe some of these guys wanted to be critical of Arthur/Clarke's tactics/selections but were afraid to do so for the reprocussions. I'm not sure Clarke/Arthur would deal with it so well. I mean

1 - there looks to be too many bits and pieces players in there ?

2 - who outside Doherty's family thinks he's in the top 2 Aus spinners at the moment ?

3 - Who would have played Doherty INSTEAD of Lyon in the 2nd test ?

All of which has nothing to do with the players

I guess we'll have to see how it all pans out but I always try to look at issues and imagine how I'd feel if it was happening to my side and if this was happening to England I wouldn't be happy about it

Posted by soumyas on (March 13, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

as an Indian in my angle i see major problem with aussie team is team slection. Lyon was the only spinner who bowled well in first test, but they left him in second test. they should have played at least 3 spinners in second test. also starc bolwled better than siddle in 1st test but they dropped starc, Kwaja shud have played right from 1st test because of his subcontinent origin.

Posted by Lobs on (March 13, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

Pattinson is the only one of the four that we need. This is a wonderful wake up call as we move toward the Ashes. Watson should never have been vice captain and his runs are not thoise of a Test batsman. Out. Johnson should have been dispensed with five years ago. Kawaja hasn't got it-I watched him bat with Alex Doolan at the PM's match for an hour--it was like watching a schoolboy batting with Hutton. Doolan averages 49 in Shield, Kawaja 39.Doolan is made for No. 3 for the Ashes. Tasmania should win the Shield and have Cowan,Doolan,Bailey,Butterworth( 40 Shield wickets @18 and the most accurate bowler in Australia) Doherty and Bird go .

Posted by Meety on (March 13, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

@ JG2704 on (March 12, 2013, 13:27 GMT) - "...this sort of thing should be a voluntary thing..." - I don't agree. I could be flippant & say there is no I in TEAM, but the point really is, either you buy into the "culture" or you don't if you are a player. If players then pick & choose what they want to do, it can (& usually does) lead to cutting corners. Bear in mind that it was NOT just the review of the match, there have been players NOT filling out their wellness reports! Oz is the last Test team in the world that can at the moment be careless with injuries. So, (IMO), I would say the Management is taking a stitch in time approach. It remains to be seen whether this is the start of the rot, or the point where things fall into place - it'll be either or. Hopefully Watto will wake up & see what Patto has said & re-think his attitude.

Posted by darsh127 on (March 13, 2013, 5:54 GMT)

Chris OC, my point is not about what the player was doing or performing, they all were supposed to do an assigned task and if 13 of the 17 players could do so, then so can they. Talk about benched people, so were others such as smith. Talk about performing well, clarke did his hwk then so could have the other performer, Pattinson. And for watson, he was heading home anyways but could still have played the third test.

Posted by Meety on (March 13, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

@Chris_P on (March 12, 2013, 6:18 GMT) - save your breathe - too many fickle fairweather fans. @ straight_drive4 on (March 12, 2013, 7:42 GMT) - I agree. @hyclass on (March 12, 2013, 7:07 GMT) - it wasn't really a peer review! It was ideas to improve, or where the team went wrong - what do you suggest they should do after the 10th worst defeat in 130 years? @smudgeon on (March 12, 2013, 9:01 GMT) - spot on. @Beertjie on (March 12, 2013, 15:28 GMT) - IMO - you are looking at the task too literally. Arthurs asked for where "they & the team" went wrong & improve. So from where I sit, there is two areas to draw an answer from - 1) From having played the match & revieiwing from a coal face perspective, or 2) From having watched the match & seen the way the Indians compared from the Grand stand. It really shouldn't be that hard (IMO). @landl47 on (March 12, 2013, 13:19 GMT) - he's showing more maturity than Watto for sure.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tour Results
India v Australia at Delhi - Mar 22-24, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Mar 2-5, 2013
India won by an innings and 135 runs
India v Australia at Chennai - Feb 22-26, 2013
India won by 8 wickets
India A v Australians at Chennai - Feb 16-18, 2013
Match drawn
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