Australia's troubled tour March 12, 2013

'Captain and vice-captain must sort their issues out' - Pat Howard

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Australia's vice-captain, Shane Watson, has been given a less than glowing endorsement from Cricket Australia's general manager of team performance Pat Howard, who has said Watson is "sometimes" a team player. Howard also alluded to issues between Watson and the captain Michael Clarke, but said Watson could certainly return to the Test side after flying home from the tour of India, while Clarke has said there was no reason Watson cannot retain the vice-captaincy.

Watson's departure was for the birth of his first child but it also came only hours after he and three other members of the squad were told they would not be considered for the third Test in Mohali for failing to complete a task set by the coach Mickey Arthur. While he was leaving, Watson said the punishment was "very harsh" and he was weighing up his cricket future at a time when his life as a father was about to begin.

The decision to axe Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja came after a string of disciplinary breaches from the squad on the tour, though not necessarily from those four players. Arthur said on Monday that he had never had reason to doubt Watson's professionalism but, on Tuesday, Howard was less than enthusiastic when asked if Watson was a team player.

"In cricket it is interesting, there are individual aspects. I think that is a hard one to measure," Howard said. When pressed on the issue, he added: "I know Shane reasonably well. I think he acts in the best interests of the team sometimes. I am not going to get drawn into that any more. But there are failings in the system in that we are not getting the best out of Shane - that's our fault."

That Australian cricket has not got the best out of Watson is beyond doubt. Not only has he suffered injuries on a regular basis - he has played only three of the past 12 home Tests - but his batting form has been disappointing since he last scored a Test hundred, coincidentally in Mohali in 2010. In the past two years, Watson has scored 605 Test runs at 25.20, always batting in the top four.

For much of that time he has been the vice-captain to Clarke, although the two are not believed to share a particularly close relationship. On-field, they are rarely seen in close conversation and Howard said that if Watson returned they would need to sort out any issues between them.

"They have normal difficulties that anybody has in a relationship," he said. "The reality is that Michael is a strong driver and they had 18 months to work on that. But I am not going to get drawn into that conversation. The captain and the vice-captain have to sort their issues out. If Michael wants to raise it as a greater issue, he can come forward."

While Watson's future remains up in the air - including whether there is any chance of him returning for the fourth Test in Delhi if his wife gives birth before then - Australia are ready to welcome him back. On Monday, Clarke said there was no reason Watson could not remain vice-captain.

"He definitely can," Clarke said. "There have been times throughout my career where I know I've let myself down and let the team down and you learn from that. Watto knows how important he is to this group. He knows he's a senior player in this group and both of us through this tour have learnt a lot and spent a fair bit of time together, which has been great for me as a captain and also I'm hoping for Watto as vice-captain.

"We need Watto performing at his best ... because he's as good a player as there is in world cricket when he's at his best. Part of my job as captain is to try to help him, like every other player. I do whatever I can to help him be the best player he can be. Because you're captain or vice-captain you're not judged any differently. If anything you judge yourself harder. These are the standards, hit them or there are consequences."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VivGilchrist on March 13, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    @Masefield, a captain should NEVER come out and state comments like that publicly, especially toward his deputy. How would that make any vice-captain feel? Clarke does not back his team mates. He is quite happy to distance himself when things aren't going to plan. He's a good batsman, a good tactician, but a poor manager of different personalities.

  • Masefield on March 13, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    If they only listened to Ian Chappell before via his weekly articles -at least gave some thought to views on the selections - we will will not be in this mess. Watson should have opened with Warner - Cowan should never have been picked - my view he is very lucky to be in the side . Obviously, he has some good connections beyond cricket.Now that we are stuck with him because of the powers above- I hope he makes a century in the next test match. In regard to the homework"- absolute joke - For the money Micky Arthur & Co get- they should iron out all problems in a Team meeting - If he says people are timid to speak up then there is a problem with the leadership Team . Team Bonding is so important whether you win or lose - They should look for inspiration from the likes of Chappell, Border and even Shane Warne plus many more great players not post pad notes. I can imagine his room full of notes on the wall

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 13, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    What they could have done differently:

    1) Pick the best squad. The squad on tour is notably missing David Hussey, George Bailey and Chris Rogers, all in form, all with great records, not to mention that Ricky Ponting is the best performed batsman in the Sheffield Shield this season. Steve O'Keefe and Nathan Hauritz could have been considered too. Peter Siddle should not have been on tour, as his Indian record is appalling.

    2) Pick the best XI. Even given the squad that they had, ignoring Mitchell Johnson is just absurd, given his form, his overall record, and his record in India. How on earth is Peter Siddle ahead of him? Continuing to select Philip Hughes is equally absurd. And the dumping of Mitchell Starc? Don't get me started on that one. The fact that he was used so poorly by the captain does not mean he is not a good player. When you don't have your best team on the park, how can you win?

    3) Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Pace bowlers, not spinners.

  • Mitcher on March 13, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    @cricketfanwrites: If only making arguments based on unsubstantiated (ie. made up) points worked in the real world. I won't dignify most of those points with a response. But, why did Clarke put Watson on notice about his place in the Test side as a specialist batsman? Umm, just maybe it's because Watson's place is tenuous when he doesn't bowl. Entirely within the captain's rights.

  • ARad on March 12, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    This 'I don't want to talk about it really but..." kind of leaky mouth is unacceptable when it is possessed by those in administrative/leadership positions who should know better than young cricketers in the squad. Will Howard be punished for this? This reminds me of the KP affair where those who leaked material to the press from inside the English camp went unpunished. Administrative entities all over the world (WI, England, SL, NZ and now Australia) want to 'SPIN' events to their own benefit. Since the administrators set the rules and one of them is that players can be punished for disobedience, players can't really say anything back and still play in the team. We need to get rid of our MASTER-SERVANT mentality and should strive for more EQUALITY in every walk of life.

  • cricketfanwrites on March 12, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    Clarke does NOT like Watson. If he did, why on earth did he put him on notice (that he needed to compete) before the ODI series against WI. "Feb 5, 2013 Michael Clarke has warned his vice-captain Shane Watson that he faces much stiffer competition for a place in Australia's Test team by choosing to play as a batsman rather than an allrounder."That statement spoke volumes about him. I also think Clarke had an input pertaining to Haddin and David Hussey not being in the squad to India. I wonder if he and Mike Hussey got along. I'll bet some of what I do not have that they did not. Being talented does not qualify one to lead. Ask Brian Lara. Clarke is not at home with all cylinders firing. He is away - great leaders are evaluated outside their domains. So far his leadership does not measure up to his individual talent.

  • on March 12, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    I think the Aussie management have done an excellent job by honestly analysing the situation and telling the players what is wrong. In the real world we non cricketing types have to work to KPIs and SLAs and if we failed here we would be reprimanded for it. Same should apply to cricket. My hats off to Aussie management for taking this hard line. Cricketers in general have an easy life compared to us in the real world who work very hard for little money and are suffering because of the recession.

  • saplinglittle on March 12, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    Mr. Cloverdill your comment "Watson has scored 605 Test runs at 25.20, always batting in the top four" is interesting given that Johnson has about the same averages. Allrounder Watson - yeah right. On averages Patterson is a better allrounder than both of them. Then again Dizzy made a double, took a ten for, won man of the series and got dropped (he's still only 37 by the way). So Mr. Cloverdill in your wisdom and espousal should the selectors and coach go or the players? My humble apologies without a coach they can't get to the ground.

  • S.Alis on March 12, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    The more i read about this axed incident, the more i think this is all pre-planned. Leadership understand that it's not easy to make a comeback by winning or drawing next two matches. Series is already lost. Let put up a good public show, which throw this tour in tantrums completely. In the history, all will be left is that Austrilia had a worst tour because of team management and that's why they lost the series. The whole homework situation and how it was handles giving all kind of hints that it's politics. Especially at the times when you need to help the team moral going up instead making it even worse.

  • Alexk400 on March 12, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    Ego war between clarke and watson

  • VivGilchrist on March 13, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    @Masefield, a captain should NEVER come out and state comments like that publicly, especially toward his deputy. How would that make any vice-captain feel? Clarke does not back his team mates. He is quite happy to distance himself when things aren't going to plan. He's a good batsman, a good tactician, but a poor manager of different personalities.

  • Masefield on March 13, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    If they only listened to Ian Chappell before via his weekly articles -at least gave some thought to views on the selections - we will will not be in this mess. Watson should have opened with Warner - Cowan should never have been picked - my view he is very lucky to be in the side . Obviously, he has some good connections beyond cricket.Now that we are stuck with him because of the powers above- I hope he makes a century in the next test match. In regard to the homework"- absolute joke - For the money Micky Arthur & Co get- they should iron out all problems in a Team meeting - If he says people are timid to speak up then there is a problem with the leadership Team . Team Bonding is so important whether you win or lose - They should look for inspiration from the likes of Chappell, Border and even Shane Warne plus many more great players not post pad notes. I can imagine his room full of notes on the wall

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 13, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    What they could have done differently:

    1) Pick the best squad. The squad on tour is notably missing David Hussey, George Bailey and Chris Rogers, all in form, all with great records, not to mention that Ricky Ponting is the best performed batsman in the Sheffield Shield this season. Steve O'Keefe and Nathan Hauritz could have been considered too. Peter Siddle should not have been on tour, as his Indian record is appalling.

    2) Pick the best XI. Even given the squad that they had, ignoring Mitchell Johnson is just absurd, given his form, his overall record, and his record in India. How on earth is Peter Siddle ahead of him? Continuing to select Philip Hughes is equally absurd. And the dumping of Mitchell Starc? Don't get me started on that one. The fact that he was used so poorly by the captain does not mean he is not a good player. When you don't have your best team on the park, how can you win?

    3) Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Pace bowlers, not spinners.

  • Mitcher on March 13, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    @cricketfanwrites: If only making arguments based on unsubstantiated (ie. made up) points worked in the real world. I won't dignify most of those points with a response. But, why did Clarke put Watson on notice about his place in the Test side as a specialist batsman? Umm, just maybe it's because Watson's place is tenuous when he doesn't bowl. Entirely within the captain's rights.

  • ARad on March 12, 2013, 21:41 GMT

    This 'I don't want to talk about it really but..." kind of leaky mouth is unacceptable when it is possessed by those in administrative/leadership positions who should know better than young cricketers in the squad. Will Howard be punished for this? This reminds me of the KP affair where those who leaked material to the press from inside the English camp went unpunished. Administrative entities all over the world (WI, England, SL, NZ and now Australia) want to 'SPIN' events to their own benefit. Since the administrators set the rules and one of them is that players can be punished for disobedience, players can't really say anything back and still play in the team. We need to get rid of our MASTER-SERVANT mentality and should strive for more EQUALITY in every walk of life.

  • cricketfanwrites on March 12, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    Clarke does NOT like Watson. If he did, why on earth did he put him on notice (that he needed to compete) before the ODI series against WI. "Feb 5, 2013 Michael Clarke has warned his vice-captain Shane Watson that he faces much stiffer competition for a place in Australia's Test team by choosing to play as a batsman rather than an allrounder."That statement spoke volumes about him. I also think Clarke had an input pertaining to Haddin and David Hussey not being in the squad to India. I wonder if he and Mike Hussey got along. I'll bet some of what I do not have that they did not. Being talented does not qualify one to lead. Ask Brian Lara. Clarke is not at home with all cylinders firing. He is away - great leaders are evaluated outside their domains. So far his leadership does not measure up to his individual talent.

  • on March 12, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    I think the Aussie management have done an excellent job by honestly analysing the situation and telling the players what is wrong. In the real world we non cricketing types have to work to KPIs and SLAs and if we failed here we would be reprimanded for it. Same should apply to cricket. My hats off to Aussie management for taking this hard line. Cricketers in general have an easy life compared to us in the real world who work very hard for little money and are suffering because of the recession.

  • saplinglittle on March 12, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    Mr. Cloverdill your comment "Watson has scored 605 Test runs at 25.20, always batting in the top four" is interesting given that Johnson has about the same averages. Allrounder Watson - yeah right. On averages Patterson is a better allrounder than both of them. Then again Dizzy made a double, took a ten for, won man of the series and got dropped (he's still only 37 by the way). So Mr. Cloverdill in your wisdom and espousal should the selectors and coach go or the players? My humble apologies without a coach they can't get to the ground.

  • S.Alis on March 12, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    The more i read about this axed incident, the more i think this is all pre-planned. Leadership understand that it's not easy to make a comeback by winning or drawing next two matches. Series is already lost. Let put up a good public show, which throw this tour in tantrums completely. In the history, all will be left is that Austrilia had a worst tour because of team management and that's why they lost the series. The whole homework situation and how it was handles giving all kind of hints that it's politics. Especially at the times when you need to help the team moral going up instead making it even worse.

  • Alexk400 on March 12, 2013, 17:51 GMT

    Ego war between clarke and watson

  • on March 12, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    Posted by Mangwap on (March 12, 2013, 14:32 GMT) " I think it's quite dumb to say it's not the job of the players to say what went wrong".. Why did anything "go wrong"... It might just be (altho no-one seems to want to admit it) that were not good enough... Do you honestly believe that the team as a whole were not trying to win...I mean that's what's implied by asking them all for a critique.. And if the team is not good enough, who's fault is that ? They didn't pick themselves, the selectors did that... So how come they are escaping any of the blame.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on March 12, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    pat howard, mickey Arthur, and john invers say goodbye to your jobs

  • sportofpain on March 12, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Not a fan of Watson because I don't think his performance justifies the hype. he also does not bowl by choice - if you are playing for your country and have different skills, you should use them. Unless you are injured and can't bowl but if Watson can bat and field I guess he can bowl too. Esp when the team is getting caned. But that applies to Clarke as well - he could have bowled his left arm spinners instead of say Doherty and let Khwaja get that additional spot. But it doesn't appear that Clarke is fond of Khwaja. Here's a possible scenario - Phil Hughes will now play for sure in the next test, he might score a hundred and will retain his spot for the next test and the Ashes and the door will be permanently closed on Khwaja. I hope that Khwaja gets a decent run though but the way even someone like Symonds was shown the door does not bode well

  • CricLook on March 12, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    It is really sad incidence for australian cricket. I think coach and captain should equally share the burden. Not only players. Clarke to some extent become a divisive captain. He had a role to axe Katich where australia still struggle to find the replacement of his caliber. Hussy retired frightening on youth policy although he was the best performer. Now this pathetic issue. Ponting may surrendered ashes three time but he kept the dressing room united. Recently retired must feel bleeding in hurt seeing these events. Cricket australia should investigate the whole matter and take appropriate measure.

  • Mangwap on March 12, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    I think it's quite dumb to say it's not the job of the players to say what went wrong. Aus got caned in the last test, and in order to be a successsful unit, you need thinking cricketers, not palyers who fail and say, 'It's the coach's responsibility'. I'm not a huge fan of Mickey Arthur but I think it's smart to put some kind of personal accountability onto the players. It seems that there are a few players who are taking things lightly. When Aus has a goal to rise out of the proverbial ashes towards previous heights, getting spanked like they did is a very serious matter. If players are not grasping the gravity of that, drop them. Fair enough.

  • ozziespirit on March 12, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    @RandyOZ: The wheels certainly have indeed fallen off. Clarke needs to go, he's really destroying this team through his divisive captaincy, refusal to bat higher than 5 or 6 and poor decision making. Phil Hughes should be keeper and number 3 and they should give Haddin the captaincy.

  • on March 12, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    nothing will be worser than this with out watto and pattinson what they are thinking to do so.its like bull shit with out pattinson how can they bowl with that blody vowling line up

  • getaclue on March 12, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    @featurewrite - are u kidding mcdonald is clearly a better bat than any of the állrounders' you listed. And with a bowling avg under 30 he is therefore Australia next best (or) best genuine allrounder

  • CricketFollowers on March 12, 2013, 12:58 GMT

    Australian team is in soup. Why do you mess with the best player you got. What on earth mickey arthur is doing?. If he needs input from the players why did he took the job as a coach?. Clarke should have arranged for a team meeting/dicussion to sort out the issue not to write a poem. Players cannot be responsible for this debacle as the team failed as a TEAM. I have never seen any team reaching the top with one or two players playing well. If you have report from 12 players then make use of those 12 reports to fix the issue which would have covered the rest of the 4 folks report. I wonder how did he survived with the SA team?. I want to see what Mickey will do once the Aussies lose the third test match, may be a "Retirement call" from the players who didn't perform. watch this Mickey for more stories.

  • on March 12, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Coach Arthur does not know how to treat people. They may loose his experience, if he decides to retire. I feel sorry for Austratlia.

  • RandyOZ on March 12, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    The wheels have definitely fallen off the apple cart. Sutherland, Arthur, Howard and Inverarity all need to be axed.

  • ozziespirit on March 12, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    Watson and Clarke have to make up for the good of Aus cricket. If these big fall-outs keep happening I can't see how Clarke can stay on as captain.

  • Mitcher on March 12, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    The only mystery here for me: an underperforming; rarely appearing (through injury), crock, like Watson - can actually possess a sense of entitlement; Against (whatever your personality issues) the top performing, only truly viable leadership option in the Australian setup (Clarke for the slowbies). Watson must be cut loose officially for the good of the squad.

  • aquarianx on March 12, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    Vice-captaincy: Indian or Aussie - Beware of the Drop!!

  • Sunil_Batra on March 12, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Clarke and Watson need to sort our their issues as we need both to win the ashes. Its a shame that two of our best youngsters in Pattinson and Khawaja have been caught up in infighting that's bigger then them. Clarke should learn that the most important part of leadership is not runs, bowling changes and field placings, it is leading other men and creating team spirit.He has scored plenty of runs and shown great tactical nous, particularly compared to his predecessor Ponting - but in terms of man management, his predecessor can teach him a thing or two.When asked after Hyderabad why Watson wasn't scoring well his response was childish and lacking support - "Ask Watto" he says. How about some support for his vice captain having a rough trot of form? The same support he has received through repeated Ashes failures. Or when asked if he would move up the order he says "I guess I'll have to, I've got not choice" - basically demeaning his teammates.

  • on March 12, 2013, 12:05 GMT

    CA need to appoint a coach who played the game.Mickey mouse arthur is not the future for Australian cricket.He has done nothing for Sa cricket also.These are adults being treated like school kids.What bull is that, ways to improve your game.Coaching staff need to advise where you are going wrong.

  • on March 12, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    I don't blame Watson for leaving to be with his wife and child. Micky Arthur is not good for Australia..I agree with Chappel Vs Micky comparison...

  • on March 12, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    In a team you cannot have good(friendly) relationship with everyone,there are bound to be some issues (ego problems).But it is a professional sport everyone must realise they are playing for the natiional team & not for somebody.These type of issues should not come out of the dressing room.

  • kmgnath on March 12, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    When there is crisis, Things (teams) do fall apart. CA never was in this situation in recent past. Sometime its really tough, where do you draw the line. In current scenario, Reality might be different , than what is on paper. I still believe Aus cricket team is more of Coach centric, so its good many ways to controle the team, otherwise it will be different. India should be carefull for the third test match, because each and everyone in the aus team will put more than 100%, India shouldn't relax the guard, to let them take over. India has to soffocate tham, so Aus team crumble like pack of cards, Otherwise they will comeback strong.

  • gandhala on March 12, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    I had my 3 points for Australia

    1) Open with Watson 2)Bring in Usman Kawaja and MJ into the team 3) Use Pattison wisely

    And this is what team Australia have in return .

  • Thefakebook on March 12, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Look at whats happening now,two veterans of OZ cricket on two end of a river! This after Ponting and Hussey retired almost simultaneously.And messed up selection of the team.Tough time for us OZ fans.Hope for a sliver lining here.

  • SpinningBouncer on March 12, 2013, 11:24 GMT

    Mickey Arthur has done to Australia what Greg Chappell did to India a few years ago!!

  • KGY27 on March 12, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Oh dear! It's all a bit silly really. Much ado about nothing!. CA .....field your best team, swallow your pride and egos in the management and get on with the game.

  • featurewriter on March 12, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    Milhouse79: McDonald is way down the list of all-rounders now. Faulkner, Butterworth, Henriques and Coulter-Nile are ahead of Ronald. I think Australia's best squad of 16 (not taking into consideration the current dilemma) for the Ashes would be: Cowan, Warner, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Wade, Johnson, Pattinson, Bird, Siddle, Starc, Lyon, Henriques, Butterworth, Khawaja and Marsh - with Doherty, Maxwell, Burns and Paine as outside chances. (Steve Smith wouldn't make my top 50 - and your sarcasm on that note isn't lost mate.)

  • Abhi1230 on March 12, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    Watson says Pat Howard doesn't know him well enough to make comments about his relationship with Clarke or his commitment as a team player

  • johnnybox on March 12, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    The writing was on the wall during the last test. At the end of the day when Australia was batting in its second innings, Watson and Cowen were in. The body language between the two appeared ordinary and then at the end of the day when they had survived, I was amazed to see Watson walking off the grouind talking to one of the Indian players, leaving Cowen to walk off by himself. Here is a situation where the team had to work hard together to save the test and solidarity was clearly not evident. It bis great that players from both teams can socialise but wait until you are off the ground. Show some solidarity with your team mates. I have never forgotten Watsons ridiculous antics when he dismissed Chris Gayle a couple of years ago and have always been amazed he was made vice captain having previously shown his true colours. I think CA now rue that decision.

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    Watson is a failure. Can't score a run, massively overpaid and can't follow team rules. His comments upon his return sum up his attitude. Lets get somebody in the team who can not only score some decent runs and has some commitment ( Mike Hussey like!)

  • 158notout on March 12, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @Ashish Mundanthara - agree but I think the key difference here is that KP was (still is although not to anywhere near the same extent) indispensable. That he lost the captaincy was inevitable but they could not drop him for good whereas Watson was probably on the verge of being dropped for form reasons anyway. Definitely agree that Arthur could be browsing the classifieds soon.

  • Jimmyrob83 on March 12, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    People need to look at the positives. At least it has got the media/public talking about cricket again, it even knocked the football off the back pages.

  • Jack_Melbourne on March 12, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    First Simon Kitch, now Watson who is next??? Doesn't it make sense who has got the personality problems??? I hope CA will sort it out once and for all professionally and save the national pride ASAP!

  • handyandy on March 12, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    i am starting understand why Hussey, Symonds and perhaps Katich left the game early. Clark maybe a strong leader and a great batsman but he will never have a strong team under him if he doesn't develop his people handling skills.

  • starvingcreative on March 12, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Clarke is a great batsman and great captain on the field but i get the feeling he is awful man manager. See the thing about ponting is he was a really good man manager staying after practise to help lyon with his bowling etc players were willing to die for him on the field but this is not the case with clarke. Clarke needs to wake up! You can have a discplined team of disillusioned cricketers or a spirted team wiiling to die for the badge and you won't have the latter while bashing team mates in public! We going backwards DROP CLARKE AS Captain

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    As an England supporter, it was weird to se Australia to have in house squabbling among their players and staff. Normally, you will expect this from an Engaknd camp. This really bodes well for Engalnd in the up and coming Ashes series. Perhaps a whitewash is on the cards for England !!

  • bobmartin on March 12, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    The more I read about the ongoing issues in Australian cricket the more convinced I am that the failures are at the top. The management appear to be actually doing very little managing, particularly if they let these sort of incidents develop to the extent they obviously have. To come out now and actually admit that there has been " a string of disciplinary breaches from the squad on the tour, though not necessarily from those four players" is tantamount to admitting poor management. Why weren't these breaches dealt with as they happened ? Sloppy managers let things progress until such time as their patience wears thin and they then crack down with unnecessary force on some rather trivial incident such as this seems to be. My granny had a saying which I think Clarke and Arthur et al would do well to reflect on "A stitch in time saves nine"

  • Reagos on March 12, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    From the beginning of this incident and continuing throughout this article the entire issue has been handled poorly by both the players and management. I believe the only one to profit from this is the media…and they are just doing their jobs btw. Totally unprofessional, this makes my WI Cricket team and my WICB look good.

  • GrindAR on March 12, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Bevan, Symonds, Katich and now, Watson... Probably rest Clarke for a match, give Watson a go, he will show Clarke how to lead a team towards winning.

  • ramkmu on March 12, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Michael Clarke, do not worry about your predicament. Talk to Indian captains, past and present. We are very often on long losing streaks when we go overseas. Our national team is de-sensitized to such strings of losses, and so are our coaches and selectors. The fans rant and rave, and still go to watch the home games. On the home grounds, we try hard to prepare our pitches to our advantage, but we still lose sometimes, as we did against England. Soak up some Indian brand of insensitivity to losing, while you are in India. Just chill. We all know you are a good national team and will bounce back.

  • GrindAR on March 12, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Why there is a media presence for an internal audit?

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    I can understand why Mike Hussey retired...

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    This entire episode reminds of the Kevin Pietersen - Peter Moores row. At the end of that issue, Pietersen lost his captaincy and Moores lost his job. Wont be surprised if Mickey Arthur resigns at the end of this series. Watson could still come back into the team though.

  • Jaffa79 on March 12, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    If Watson isn't prepared to tow the party line then let me go; he is an average player in Test cricket anyway. I think the Aussies should try and get Andrew McDonald in the side. I haven't seen him play for a year or so and he may have had a bad year but when I last saw him in England and against SA (a couple of years back), he struck me as a level head with the bat and a guy that can do a steady job with the ball. He'd be useful in English conditions and hold an end up, which would be useful considering the lack of spinning options and the fact the Aussies need a 5 man attack due to so many of them being injury prone. Thats what I'd do. As an England fan, I'd like to see Steve Smith play!!!

  • uwe71 on March 12, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    in my opinion its over the top even though i understand team values and team rules but what is wrong with getting together after the game sitting down with a couple of quite drinks and having a team meeting or in aussies case a crisis meeting, then if people dont show up you know the ones who care and are commited,to drop these players now could destabilise an already fractured team,maybe Mickey arthur is not the man to coach australia.

  • PACERONE on March 12, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    Watson is capable of making runs,but he has been very fortunate at the start of his career when he was given numerous lives at the start of his innings either by the opposing players or the umpires.These things have a way of evening out themselves.I fail to understand why pick this four to set an example if others had broken rules while on this tour.I like Clarke,but gets the feeling that he is subject to controversy that could be settled easily.

  • ash556 on March 12, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Shane Watson is one of the most attractive cricketers to watch today whatever the format of the game. (He also has a telegenic personality which probably helps TV viewership ratings.) I wonder why the coach and the captain had to ask for "why should we select you" type of explanation from Watson who has shown over time his immense capabilities. It's insulting for a senior cricketer who also happens to be the vice-captain as the message seems to suggest that there's no difference between you and some newbie still trying to find his footing at the test level. Why not sit down and have a discussion in a non-confrontational manner with each individual player including Watson as to how to turn things around for the team? That is unless Clarke and Arthur have some other axe to grind. I hope this doesn't turn out to be another loss of the kind that Australia had with the premature retirement of Simon Katich--one of the most consistent of opening bats in recent times. BTW I am Pakistani.

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    Cowardice from Pat Howard.

    ""I know Shane reasonably well. I think he acts in the best interests of the team sometimes. I am not going to get drawn into that any more."

    That's such a passive-aggressive gutless statement. It's a public admonishment without adding substance. Arthur says there's no problems with Watson's professional approach: Pat Howard is less than praiseworthy. When you have two senior people giving utterly conflicting opinions, then it's a fair indicator that the entire Australian hierarchy is in a serious mess.

  • gsingh7 on March 12, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    You axe such a brilliant all-rounder Watson, and in-form new bowler Pattinson, then you cannot expect a win against India in their home. It may be justifiable to include newcomers in T20 squad, but in Test, you certainly need some experienced players like Watson. If he retires, then it would be one of the worst days in Australian cricket.

  • flyin2hytes on March 12, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    Many of you guys have expressed your views about this on going saga of "3 point" assignment issues within CA. As an Indian, I'm really proud about the boldness shown by Mickey Arthur. C'mon when have we last seen such a situation happen in Indian cricket? If this happens in India, there will be a turmoil, a day long strike and burning of effigies. It's true Watson hasn't performed well, look at his batting average around 25. They could have handled the whole situation in a better way yet this is not something new for CA. They might me listening to Donald Trump quite a lot I guess - You are fired.

  • sents2013 on March 12, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    For people who think Clarke has done a mistake. Its not about winning the next match in India, its about the standards of Australia's cricket. A team needs discipline, no one is more than a team. I think the 4 players are not attending their training sessions properly and not cooperating with rest of the team or not working with the coach either. This will set a bad example in for the younger players, if they let these 4 players continue in this team, without getting punished. Clarke doesn't want to tell these reasons to everyone. These players can't even send a mail to the coach. People misunderstood the above statement they where taken out just for not sending a mail to the coach. A big no, these 4 players discipline was not good for the last 18 months, that was the reason. We need to congratulate Michael clarke for doing this. He is one of the very few players who rejected the IPL offer to train for the next Australia test match.

  • Ms.Cricket on March 12, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    Michael Clarke must go as captain, he has proven himself to be a top rate batsman but a selfish captain.

  • _Australian_ on March 12, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    Personally I hope Watson does give test cricket a miss. We have played better without him. He should have never been selected as a batsman only and has kept Khawaja out of the test side in doing so. The guy has peaked and in test cricket he has never been that special anyway. His calls to now possibly quit test cricket smacks of arrogance as does his election to bowl for IPL teams and not for his country.

  • Weloveu on March 12, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    Well Clarke is a good cricketer not much of an ODI Cricketer but a fantastic Test Player, as a capatain hmmmm I dont know , it seems theer is always something in the media about clashes with players, it is time for Mickey Arthur get the Phych consultatnt on board to motivate these players to work togeter, and if Clarke is teh problem then let him know, and give him the time to work on that, but please get George Bailey, Steve Smith, david Hussey and Johnson in the team. The axxing of the players to me was just a form of forced diccipline, and Pat Howard is basically resposible for that, not so much Mickey Arthur, but diccipline is teh order of teh day and that has been corrected now for the future.

  • on March 12, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    hmmmm with this i can conclude dhoni is greatest captain of all time even after 8-0 he didnt blamed any body he took the responsibility and look at michael clark and mickey arthur they have made a mockery of australlian cricket,,,,,this week is such a shamefull week for cricket australlia wish they ll loose 4-0

  • ravi_hari on March 12, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    There is no doubt in the fact that no individual is above the game. However, only Clarke, Arthur and Watson know the reasons for this unwanted turn of events. Australia are already struggling and are on the brink of being beaten 4-0 by India. What was stunningly on display was the lack of commitment from the Aussie players. Including Clarke everyone let the team down by their performances. Clarke despite batting with great responsibiity, threw his wicket away in the first innings of both the tests. Then he missed two chances in the second test and surprisingly never bowled in the second test. then the team composition for the second test, all give an impression that all is not well with the team. It takes a lot of nreves to suspend top members of your team, but will this help the team or create a panic in their minds is to be seen. I feel the players will now be thinking of non-cricketing things and that will surely affect their cricketing preparations. Hope Clarke turns it around.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    Time for Clarke to be Axed from captaincy and made to sit out the 4th test to put more responsibility in the hands of the young team. Clarke needs to go ASAP.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    I think this could be handled in a better way.

  • pitch_curator on March 12, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Atleast Watto had been assigned a task and was suspended as he had not completed it. Katich was thrown out of the team for not singing the team song. lol. And I thought you get picked to a cricket team for performing on the field, not for writing essays and singing songs. If this were the criteria then John Buchanan would have been the greatest player ever and West Indies quicks who hardly talk mumbo jumbo would not have made it even to their state teams. Way to go Clarke and Mickey.

  • sulav.dahal on March 12, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Australian Cricket is in serious trouble! You axe such a brilliant all-rounder Watson, and in-form new bowler Pattinson, then you cannot expect a win against India in their home. It may be justifiable to include newcomers in T20 squad, but in Test, you certainly need some experienced players like Watson. If he retires, then it would be one of the worst days in Australian cricket. There is surely a fault in Australian selection system, and its officials. Watson should remain in Test cricket!

  • satishchandar on March 12, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    I don't understand what is that sometimes team player? When he does what the captain says? Do you consider a guy who does whatever the team asks termed as team player like Dravid, Mike Hussey type? What about others then? Sachin and Punter always prefer their numbers in batting order, Clarke inspite of so many push stayed at 5 till now.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    It is quite interesting that a vice-captain is not part of the leadership group. If the captain is injured, the vice captain becomes the captain but does he still remain not part of the leadership group? This was a disaster in the making!

  • Tigg on March 12, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Who is more important to the side. A Captain who's in ridiculous form, or an all rounder who can't bowl at the moment (and is only useful in helpful conditions) and averages 25 with the bat in the last 2 years.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    One word...Pathetic. This is how i describe this whole situation. These guys are adults not school boys. It angers me that Clarke showed no support to his team mate or "friend", instead he thought it would be better for his career to support his coach. Yeah he didn't do his homework but it doesn't mean you can just give a punishment such as this. Being AXED! is a little too much. Australian cricket is not school. Its a professional sport which everyone benefits from, certainly not a circus.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Michael Clarke is a good player and captain on the field. But he failed as a captain in Public Relation and motivator. Since he became a selector, he is acting more like an administrator and not as a captain. To publicly single out and criticise player or players when the team loses is something a captain shouldn't do. You don't see ex good captain Waugh, Pointing and Tubby criticising the player/players publicly. Michael is playing very well over the last 18 months and that had gone into his head with ex players and the media piling accolade on him. HE IS NOT A TEAM PLAYER AND SHIT OF A PERSON AS FAR AS PUBLIC RELATION IS CONCERNED.

  • Sheikasif on March 12, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    As a Bangla tigers fan but I fully support that Clarke has done the best thing for cricket. players are there to represnt country and they should do that with full heart. if coach and captain ask them to become waterboy, they should do it with pride coz its for the good of the team as a whole. I was always a fan of Clarke but he is my idol from today. Good luck Australia

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on March 12, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    I wonder is it his (Watson's) constant shuffling throughout the batting order? It can't be easy being forced to bat with non-test standard batsmen like Hughes and 'walking-wicket-switch-hit-and-out Warner' instead of a classic juggernaut like an Alastair Cook...

  • balajireddy on March 12, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Clarke has issues to sort with Watson. Clarke had issues with Hussey. Clarke had issues with Katich. So where does the problem lie? A bad choice as captain probably. It would have made sense for Australia to pull a rabbit out of the hat liek SA did with Graeme Smith, when they could have easily handed over captaincy to Boucher or Kallis for the short term.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Awesome Decision by Cricket Australia, though i am pakistan fan, yet i am praising the decision. That's how cricket should be run in all countries including ours. Players are Hero, but they are not over and above the Team. They should have some discpline as long as they are representing the Country.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Australian team is in a disarray. This will haunt them, particularly in the longer version of the game, given the retirement of two veterans - Punter and Mr.Cricket!

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    so it all comes out, always thought there was a difference between these two.. .

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  • on March 12, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    so it all comes out, always thought there was a difference between these two.. .

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Australian team is in a disarray. This will haunt them, particularly in the longer version of the game, given the retirement of two veterans - Punter and Mr.Cricket!

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Awesome Decision by Cricket Australia, though i am pakistan fan, yet i am praising the decision. That's how cricket should be run in all countries including ours. Players are Hero, but they are not over and above the Team. They should have some discpline as long as they are representing the Country.

  • balajireddy on March 12, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Clarke has issues to sort with Watson. Clarke had issues with Hussey. Clarke had issues with Katich. So where does the problem lie? A bad choice as captain probably. It would have made sense for Australia to pull a rabbit out of the hat liek SA did with Graeme Smith, when they could have easily handed over captaincy to Boucher or Kallis for the short term.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on March 12, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    I wonder is it his (Watson's) constant shuffling throughout the batting order? It can't be easy being forced to bat with non-test standard batsmen like Hughes and 'walking-wicket-switch-hit-and-out Warner' instead of a classic juggernaut like an Alastair Cook...

  • Sheikasif on March 12, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    As a Bangla tigers fan but I fully support that Clarke has done the best thing for cricket. players are there to represnt country and they should do that with full heart. if coach and captain ask them to become waterboy, they should do it with pride coz its for the good of the team as a whole. I was always a fan of Clarke but he is my idol from today. Good luck Australia

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Michael Clarke is a good player and captain on the field. But he failed as a captain in Public Relation and motivator. Since he became a selector, he is acting more like an administrator and not as a captain. To publicly single out and criticise player or players when the team loses is something a captain shouldn't do. You don't see ex good captain Waugh, Pointing and Tubby criticising the player/players publicly. Michael is playing very well over the last 18 months and that had gone into his head with ex players and the media piling accolade on him. HE IS NOT A TEAM PLAYER AND SHIT OF A PERSON AS FAR AS PUBLIC RELATION IS CONCERNED.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    One word...Pathetic. This is how i describe this whole situation. These guys are adults not school boys. It angers me that Clarke showed no support to his team mate or "friend", instead he thought it would be better for his career to support his coach. Yeah he didn't do his homework but it doesn't mean you can just give a punishment such as this. Being AXED! is a little too much. Australian cricket is not school. Its a professional sport which everyone benefits from, certainly not a circus.

  • Tigg on March 12, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Who is more important to the side. A Captain who's in ridiculous form, or an all rounder who can't bowl at the moment (and is only useful in helpful conditions) and averages 25 with the bat in the last 2 years.

  • on March 12, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    It is quite interesting that a vice-captain is not part of the leadership group. If the captain is injured, the vice captain becomes the captain but does he still remain not part of the leadership group? This was a disaster in the making!