Australia's troubled tour March 13, 2013

Arthur outlines 'minor indiscretions that built up'

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Mickey Arthur, the coach of Australia, has outlined some of the discipline issues that had built up over the course of the tour of India, including late attendance for team meetings, back-chat and high skinfolds (tests to estimate body fat). These were among the infractions from the wider squad that led to four players being stood down for the third Test in Mohali due to their failure to complete a task in which Arthur asked every player to give ideas for individual and team improvement.

When Arthur made the announcement on Monday that Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson would not be part of the third Test due to neglecting the task, he alluded to a build-up of other behavioural issues but did not go into details. However, on the eve of the Mohali Test, Arthur has confirmed what some of the problems were, which were not specific to the four players suspended.

"It has been a culmination of lots of minor indiscretions that have built up to now," Arthur wrote in his Cricket Australia blog. "Some people may ask why it was left to get to this point, such an 'extreme measure'. We have given lots of latitude and flexibility with a young and inexperienced squad. We know it's going to take time for them to grow and mature, but there is only so long the leadership group can hold their hand.

"This decision was about sending out a strong message that it is about time all players had some accountability for their actions. Being late for a meeting, high skinfolds, wearing the wrong attire, back-chat or giving attitude are just some examples of these behavioural issues that have been addressed discretely but continue to happen. If we're deadly serious about getting back to number one in the world, all players need to raise the bar and lift their game.

"If not, we must be content at being number three or four or five in world cricket because we won't get any better. The players won't learn and we'll continue a vicious cycle. It is a strong message to everyone in Australian cricket that if you want to play for the Australian cricket team, then we demand excellence, and corner-cutting, taking short-cuts or arriving with a bad attitude will no longer be tolerated."

Arthur, the captain Michael Clarke and the team manager Gavin Dovey were collectively responsible for the decision to leave the four players out of the third Test, which could leave Australia with as few as 12 men available for the game, which starts on Thursday. Cricket Australia's chairman, Wally Edwards, said the board was "completely supportive" of the decision taken by the Australian team management, although it has created plenty of debate from the cricket public.

"When we sat down as a leadership group and made these tough decisions I knew it would polarise public opinion, but internally I certainly know we've made the absolute right decision," Arthur said. "The last week and a half since the end of the Hyderabad Test has been the toughest in my 11 years of coaching."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | March 14, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Yet again people are not reading, or not understanding, the article. Arthur made it clear that this was not the first issue for these players. They had been reprimanded and given warnings and it hadn't worked. At some point as a manager you have to tell those under you that if they will not voluntarily do what is asked of them, they will be disciplined.

    If none of these players had ever done anything wrong before, the punishment would be harsh. If, as Arthur suggests, they have a history of not doing what is required, then the punishment (which is not that drastic, just one game) is no more than should be expected.

  • POSTED BY on | March 16, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    All of the guys selected in this touring squad were previously motivated, professional and have excelled in their chosen sport. Not many make it in to the Australian cricket team without having worked hard and sacrificed much for many years.

    And then they're accused of having bad attitude and not meeting their commitments to the team and themselves.

    Mickey Arthur, Pat Howard and all the other blow-ins are ruining Australian cricket. It's clear the players don't respect them. Get them out of the dressing room before we're the laughing stock of the cricket world. Oh, wait, we already are.

    Mickey's best hope for The Ashes is a wet English summer.

  • POSTED BY ruester on | March 16, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    Does anyone question the lack of professionalism displayed by these four players? Is it really to much to ask for them to turn up to practice or team meetings on time, or even to wear the correct team clothes when asked. I could not I imagine a football manager like Alex Ferguson allowing his over paid egocentric players to get away with that lack of professionalism and poor attitude. He drops plates for matches and if they still don't shape up then they are moved on. Why are cricketers so special? I'm also tired of hearing about all the ex Aussie players saying it wouldn't happen in their day. No it wouldn't because they played in a team that was blessed with all time great players and won constantly. This bunch have just been handed one of the biggest defeats in the country's history

  • POSTED BY NAP73 on | March 14, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    Do we specifically know these players had all those indiscretions? I also feel that management has been a joke as well. It is a bit hard to put extra effort in when there is such a joke in place in regard to Australian management (eg weasel words, player rotation, not abiding by the Argus review, inconsistent language and approaches, the list goes on). If you are going to sack players, do it after something else rather than useless homework (is there a lack of forceful captaincy and ability to be innovative and clear in thinking here?) as the final catalyst; otherwise, if sacking players, sack inept management as well.

  • POSTED BY Chicagoan76 on | March 14, 2013, 19:38 GMT

    The issue here is that many are reluctant to give the benefit of the doubt to someone with performance issues similar to at a common workplace. Mickey Arthur is the one with performance issues, Michael Clarke is the one with management issues and favoritism allegations. For them to then give vague explanations of things that happened several moons ago that nobody can attest to, is shady at the least.

  • POSTED BY Funplexhead on | March 14, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    It's interesting that the featured comment is one that backs up the view of Coverdale in spite of the majority of comments here criticising the decision and management of the team and many of them making valid points.

    If there is going to be a 'featured comment' feature, then can it please be objective and contain various viewpoints rather than only one that agrees with the article?

  • POSTED BY ozzierulze on | March 14, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    I guess we would have never seen much of Shane Warne playing for Australia with the skin fold test and the talking back ? It just sounds even more like Arthur backtracking to justify the stupid decision. Firstly this should have been nipped in the bud straight away to gain respect from the team . (obviously Arthur has not got that respect) . Secondly it should never been released to the media , kept internal . Thirdly you hit the players in the hip pocket by fining them heavily firstly, then if behaviour does not improve have their contract docked a % of its value, and then lastly suspension from the team. I believe this would have been the best approach, but I doubt that would have helped. as Arthur would have conjured some other trivial excuse to reprimand them .

  • POSTED BY on | March 14, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Can't understnad if its punishment for those that haven't been given a chance to perform... or reward for those that are consistently getting chances, but nothing to show for them!!!! There are 100s of ways to punish, without rewarding under-performing players with another test...

  • POSTED BY Funplexhead on | March 14, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    @landl47 let me ask you this. If the coach allows 'minor indiscretions' to build up, (some of which aren't at all serious) then I submit that he has failed in his responsibility to take the players aside individually and give them a quiet word of encouragement and let them know in no uncertain terms what is expected of them, to instill confidence in them, and treat them as professional sportsmen. Arthur has probably kept his distance and not done that, only issuing orders and expecting everyone to conform, when he should realise that everyone in the team is different and require different man management styles to get the best out of them.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | March 14, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    @ansram on (March 13, 2013, 12:59 GMT) You're 100% right - it's about losing and Clarke as someone who has done his individual part to gain success cannot tolerate the fall out from losing! Get used to it Pup - you're just ensuring being the captain of a losing outfit if you continue to pick yesmen who can't think outside of the box!

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | March 14, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Yet again people are not reading, or not understanding, the article. Arthur made it clear that this was not the first issue for these players. They had been reprimanded and given warnings and it hadn't worked. At some point as a manager you have to tell those under you that if they will not voluntarily do what is asked of them, they will be disciplined.

    If none of these players had ever done anything wrong before, the punishment would be harsh. If, as Arthur suggests, they have a history of not doing what is required, then the punishment (which is not that drastic, just one game) is no more than should be expected.

  • POSTED BY on | March 16, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    All of the guys selected in this touring squad were previously motivated, professional and have excelled in their chosen sport. Not many make it in to the Australian cricket team without having worked hard and sacrificed much for many years.

    And then they're accused of having bad attitude and not meeting their commitments to the team and themselves.

    Mickey Arthur, Pat Howard and all the other blow-ins are ruining Australian cricket. It's clear the players don't respect them. Get them out of the dressing room before we're the laughing stock of the cricket world. Oh, wait, we already are.

    Mickey's best hope for The Ashes is a wet English summer.

  • POSTED BY ruester on | March 16, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    Does anyone question the lack of professionalism displayed by these four players? Is it really to much to ask for them to turn up to practice or team meetings on time, or even to wear the correct team clothes when asked. I could not I imagine a football manager like Alex Ferguson allowing his over paid egocentric players to get away with that lack of professionalism and poor attitude. He drops plates for matches and if they still don't shape up then they are moved on. Why are cricketers so special? I'm also tired of hearing about all the ex Aussie players saying it wouldn't happen in their day. No it wouldn't because they played in a team that was blessed with all time great players and won constantly. This bunch have just been handed one of the biggest defeats in the country's history

  • POSTED BY NAP73 on | March 14, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    Do we specifically know these players had all those indiscretions? I also feel that management has been a joke as well. It is a bit hard to put extra effort in when there is such a joke in place in regard to Australian management (eg weasel words, player rotation, not abiding by the Argus review, inconsistent language and approaches, the list goes on). If you are going to sack players, do it after something else rather than useless homework (is there a lack of forceful captaincy and ability to be innovative and clear in thinking here?) as the final catalyst; otherwise, if sacking players, sack inept management as well.

  • POSTED BY Chicagoan76 on | March 14, 2013, 19:38 GMT

    The issue here is that many are reluctant to give the benefit of the doubt to someone with performance issues similar to at a common workplace. Mickey Arthur is the one with performance issues, Michael Clarke is the one with management issues and favoritism allegations. For them to then give vague explanations of things that happened several moons ago that nobody can attest to, is shady at the least.

  • POSTED BY Funplexhead on | March 14, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    It's interesting that the featured comment is one that backs up the view of Coverdale in spite of the majority of comments here criticising the decision and management of the team and many of them making valid points.

    If there is going to be a 'featured comment' feature, then can it please be objective and contain various viewpoints rather than only one that agrees with the article?

  • POSTED BY ozzierulze on | March 14, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    I guess we would have never seen much of Shane Warne playing for Australia with the skin fold test and the talking back ? It just sounds even more like Arthur backtracking to justify the stupid decision. Firstly this should have been nipped in the bud straight away to gain respect from the team . (obviously Arthur has not got that respect) . Secondly it should never been released to the media , kept internal . Thirdly you hit the players in the hip pocket by fining them heavily firstly, then if behaviour does not improve have their contract docked a % of its value, and then lastly suspension from the team. I believe this would have been the best approach, but I doubt that would have helped. as Arthur would have conjured some other trivial excuse to reprimand them .

  • POSTED BY on | March 14, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Can't understnad if its punishment for those that haven't been given a chance to perform... or reward for those that are consistently getting chances, but nothing to show for them!!!! There are 100s of ways to punish, without rewarding under-performing players with another test...

  • POSTED BY Funplexhead on | March 14, 2013, 15:56 GMT

    @landl47 let me ask you this. If the coach allows 'minor indiscretions' to build up, (some of which aren't at all serious) then I submit that he has failed in his responsibility to take the players aside individually and give them a quiet word of encouragement and let them know in no uncertain terms what is expected of them, to instill confidence in them, and treat them as professional sportsmen. Arthur has probably kept his distance and not done that, only issuing orders and expecting everyone to conform, when he should realise that everyone in the team is different and require different man management styles to get the best out of them.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | March 14, 2013, 13:15 GMT

    @ansram on (March 13, 2013, 12:59 GMT) You're 100% right - it's about losing and Clarke as someone who has done his individual part to gain success cannot tolerate the fall out from losing! Get used to it Pup - you're just ensuring being the captain of a losing outfit if you continue to pick yesmen who can't think outside of the box!

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | March 14, 2013, 8:46 GMT

    "... high skinfolds..." gimme a break, that is absurd. Put a mars bar on a good length!

  • POSTED BY on | March 14, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    I don't buy this rubbish that Arthur & Clarke did this punishment to improve professionalism in the team. The players should be motivated to perform better, not thrown out because of some perceived lack of commitment.

    If they regularly turn up late for practice (we'll give them the benefit of the doubt for team meetings if they were practicing), then maybe you can consider punishing them like this.

    And turning up in wrong uniform??? Uniforms go out in India when people leave high school (a few exceptions are there of course, such as police). When you represent your country in public, you are expected to be in uniform, but we don't expect you to wear your uniform every time.

    For this style of training to help Australia become #1 again, it will take about 15 years because the players of Australia will have to train like this with the fundamentals and without the fun, and that takes time.

  • POSTED BY Alexk400 on | March 14, 2013, 2:58 GMT

    We need different characters in the team. We do not need 11 machines. I think when you are winning they over hype crazy ecentiric characters behaviour as special and something motivates others. When people losing they try to find fault and anyone do not toe the line of management identified as trouble people and made them scapegoat. It happens in every damn corporation. Its not new. I think micky arthus must go. Not sure on clarke Some one has to tell him to adjust and give some leeway for people. He is acting like dictator not work for me if i am the player in aussie team. Its simple. People are different, Its how they perform in the pitch that matters. No one can question if you are dropped on performance or they chose someone better. I think banning players on homework shows the coach and captain are 100% IMMATURE. circinfo post this. People need to see who are at fault. NOT watson and pattinson.

  • POSTED BY Funplexhead on | March 14, 2013, 2:01 GMT

    I seriously can't wait for Clarke and Arthur to resign from their positions, or get sacked. Keep Clarke as a batsman though.

    I hate Clarke's dictatorial style of leadership. I can see that he wants his players to conform to certain standards, and that's fine, but he and the rest of the clowns managing the team are taking it too far. They're leaving no room for individual idiosyncrasies, and they're trying to make every player fit into a tiny little box. I shudder to think how Doug Walters or Keith Miller would have fared under this management. And minor indiscretions such as 'back-chat' and 'high skinfolds' (ridiculous) is a joke. Unheard of. The way this was handled will cause further divisions in the team (pro or anti Clarke) and the team, instead of being unified, will struggle with secret (or open) resentments and bitterness constantly bubbling away at the surface. Two ashes defeats should (hopefully) see the end of Arthur and Clarke.

  • POSTED BY on | March 14, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    I have never seen or heard of such childish ways of dealing with professional players as this current Australian team. Clarke is not much of a leader and his coach is not familiar with cricket. With this kind of dictatorail attitude , I see the team going downhill. If the Captain and the coach were serious about improving team morale and performance, they would have a joint brainstorimng session where everyone would have felt good!!! I hope India wins all 4 matches and hands Clarke and his mates the biggest defeat ever!!!

  • POSTED BY pp08 on | March 13, 2013, 23:41 GMT

    Let me ask one question to Micky & Co. What would you have done if 6 or 7 players have not answered/reply to you

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 23:11 GMT

    gee skinfolds .. what would shane and arjuna do ...lol

  • POSTED BY wickedballs on | March 13, 2013, 22:19 GMT

    " Arthur said. "The last week and a half since the end of the Hyderabad Test has been the toughest in my 11 years of coaching." Micky you aint seen nothing yet, wait 'till you lose two ashes series in a row !

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 20:19 GMT

    Team spirit is the quintessential trait that is required in any team sport. If you are taking about champion team that is a given. When Arthur & Co have suspended erring players, I thought that they did the right thing. They demanded complete support from each and every individual and wanted ideas from people. Giving your ideas is like brain storming the problem and coming out with your suggestions. Sure, all suggestions are not practical and 100% of them could not be implemented, but then it at least shows that you are in the thick of the things. There is no excuse for not giving your ideas to the Coach! Especially watson, since he is the management team, and what does he think? This surely will act as a shot in the arm for every one and they will be doubly motivated to perform and there by keep place in the team. ..If you are not (willing) to contribute to the team's cause it is only fair that you are not in the team.

  • POSTED BY vxttemp on | March 13, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    Don't put everything to culture. You make me the capt of a team with bowling ranks of McGrath, Gillespie, lee, warnie and co at their peak. I can fare better than Steve Waugh/Buchanan.

  • POSTED BY vxttemp on | March 13, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    I don't agree with the present Aussie team being not talented. I still feel they have a good chance at Mohali and even Delhi. For me Aus and Eng have equal chances in ashes. But this blown out of proportion. They might be professionals but Have coach and capt told these players "in case they don't do this, they will be dropped?" I mean this is probably the first time, these guys would have asked players to do such a home work. You could probably warm them. Penalize them next time. People say 3 days, sometimes you tend to forget when you've more days to work on a task. Professional cricketers are paid highly but that doesn't mean they are machines and they can do 100%. I don't think there is even a single person ever in this world who didn't forgot even a single thing.

  • POSTED BY AjaySridharan on | March 13, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    If you applied the skin-fold test to the Indian team, you probably would not have Yuvraj, Raina, Rohit, Zaheer, perhaps even Sachin now! The cricketing world would have missed the genius of Arjuna Ranatunga, brilliance of Inzi, or the sheer magic of Warne! I think the Aussie team management is taking it too far and killing the joy. Here is what Bruce Lee said about fitness - Form Follows Function. Functional fitness is key. Look at Watson - the guy is built like a tank, but breaks down so often! what's the point in not having an ounce of body fat. He has missed almost 50 Tests since his debut owing to various injuries. Looks like the Aussie management needs to take the blind-fold test!

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    Reading some of the comments, we have to remind ourselves that we are talking professional cricket in which players earn a better than average living. When we use the term professional we are talking standards, standards that encourage excellence. If as a professional you do not show any commitment to attending meetings on time, completing a task in which you are asked to reflect on your own performance and identify how you can improve, and in turn how the team can improve then you don't deserve the baggy green. If four players cannot complete a simple review task then that is a very sad situation. Do they have the right to not participate in an exercise aimed at lifting performance, I think not. There is an underlying arrogance at their lack of action and certainly steps needed to be taken if professionalism and standards are to be maintained at the highest possible level. Well done MC and MA for showing commitment and courage in the pursuit of a professional approach to cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    Arther talks about "Minor Indiscretions"! Does minor indiscretions, need such drastic actions? Like using a sledge-hammer to crush a crawling ant? Whatever happened to the idea of a 'sense of proportion"? Equitable punishment? Switching on a public announcement system when you are chiding your wife about her frequent burning of the steak?

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    @ToTellUTheTruth.

    Gary Kirsten clearly wouldn't ban people with high skinfolds from playing for India. I wouldn't say he's a man to rule with an iron fist either. No foreign coach could march into India and start making high demands for change as Indian cricket simply doesn't evolve like that.

  • POSTED BY ToTellUTheTruth on | March 13, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    When Australia were ruling the world cricket, we all wondered about how they get to be such a "well-oiled" machine, that rolls over any one in their path, so easily. We often marveled at their discipline and their tough mentality. We envied their togetherness and were disappointed to not find a single blemish in their unity. We ridiculed their players making debuts after passing 30 years and still marveled at how tough those new players are.

    Well, I guess it is all down to the "culture" they cultivated in the team, that made them the world beaters. Now we ridicule the same team for taking tough stance against players who are clearly slacking off. Gary Kirsten used to talk about "process" which ultimately led to India winning the world cup and grabbing the #1 position in Tests. So, what's wrong with what Clarke and Arthur doing? They stated their goal as to become #1 in the world (again), and they put in a process. If you don't follow the stated team goals, then get off the bus. Kudos!

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    This whole incident reminds of a line from House, and it so perfectly fits here. "You do not try and change players, you manage them to get the best out of them". Please don't kill the Australian cricket team.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    Job of a captain and management is to find ways to get the best out of its players and not to run a ruthless ruler type regime. All these players are professional athletes not school boys, they have worked hard to play international cricket. They do not deserve to be treated like this. If there are issues need to be addressed? it has to be dealt in a way so that there no animosity and team benefits from it. Now Australia would love to have Watson and Pattinson in the team for this test match. Sorry Clarke and Arthur you have failed.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    This is cricket man, a GAME. not a military boot camp. Wake up Arthur and Clarke

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    I believe it is the captain and the coach that needs to grow up. Public humiliation of players is something to be avoided and does not instill confidence and mutual respect between the players and management / coach. Poor showing by the captain/ coach / management. It is something that they will regret.

  • POSTED BY Gevelsis on | March 13, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    It is illuminating to hear Colin Ingram of SA say that it 'takes all kinds of different personalities to make a team', while Arthur in his press conference talks of players having to 'conform'. Methinks there lies the problem. Too much thinking kills spontenaity. There is no enjoyment in this Strayan team.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | March 13, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    When you think about it all the problems Arthur cited have nothing to with why they have been smashed, except perhaps missing training, although I think they were late. I don't think being highly paid is a big deal either. These blokes are there because they are the best, they would still be there if they were playing for peanuts. Back in the WSC split, someone, the Chairman I think said something like 'who cares there's are 500,000 cricketers out there who would play for Australia" and he was right. Sure the got smashed and peace was declared with the players finally getting some cash but these blokes are only mildly interested in test cash. So they can replace them all with people who appreciate the money more but they are even less likely to win. We are down in this series and to not have Pattinson and Khawaja playing tomorrow is not acceptable, i just hope we are competitive in this match. If we lose then Arthur has alot to answer for.

  • POSTED BY Gazzypops on | March 13, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    As an England supporter, I'm so glad that the coach is employing a ridiculously draconian approach to man-management just before an Ashes series. The last time this happened was in 2006-07 and we really took advantage of the dissent in the ranks then. Will English ever recover from a 10-0 thrashing, I wonder...

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | March 13, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    As a former college sportsman myself, one thing I do realize is that not every guy is the SAME in a team. That's how sports should be, it needs characters. If Arthur expects every player to be the same 'yes sir' kinda guy then too bad he should quit coaching and take refuge in a fishing cabin up in the Arctic. It's been poor man-management by Arthur and co, as simple as that.

  • POSTED BY ansram on | March 13, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Minor indiscretions are common to all teams. When you start loosing however, every thing gets blown up beyond proportions. The same behaviours in a winning team would not only be tolerated, but would be eulogized as the role model of success!!

  • POSTED BY njr1330 on | March 13, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    If these 'indiscretions' led to getting the sack, then Ian Botham would have played zero Test matches. Would that have been a good thing for cricket?!

  • POSTED BY Mervo on | March 13, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    It was well known that Keith Miller and Bradman did not get on and that Miller was frequently disrespectful and followed his own mind. Bradman once threw the ball to Miller for a second spell and Miller threw it back as he was tired still. Seriously, the Arthur-Clarke nonsense is childish stuff and shows a complete lack of leadership and understanding of what it takes to be a leader. Arthur will go, it is just a matter of how much damage he will cause.

  • POSTED BY ozwriter on | March 13, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    lost all respect for arthur. using the media to justify his silly points. now playing mind games by mentioning other 'indiscretions'.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    Banning players for so called 'minor indiscretions' is truly laughable......

  • POSTED BY Jack_Melbourne on | March 13, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    It seems folks at the top (coach, manager, captin) just simply diverting the attention of their failures by just showing how tough they are with so called high standards of the game and how thing were gone bad within the team that led to this displanary action. I hope someone higher in CA must cut all that crap immediately and restore young team (including four telented young men) confidence and fighting spirit by focusing on quality coaching and physiological training. Perhaps it is time for major changes at the top including changing the coach, captin and performance manager ASAP.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    I doubt these problems would occur if the coach & captain were NOT selectors. The selectors should consult with coach & captain but ultimately pick the team independently. It is difficult to build team work when the team is changed every other game. Players will play for themselves to protect their spot. Maybe Mr Arthur does not fully understand Australian humour.

  • POSTED BY Tumbarumbar on | March 13, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    Suddenly I'm hearing that old refrain, 'Oh how I wish Ricky was back'. It's funny how it's coming from a lot of people who were wishing him gone even when he was still comfortably among Australia's top five batsman. So many of his former team mates supported him by in effect saying 'when you lose Ricky you lose the Australia out of Australian Cricket' and how right they were. It is unfortunate that Inverarity didn't agree, dropping him from the one day team after gifting him the extra pressure of captaining the team again for two games then urging him on to retirement after facing Sth Africa when everyone knew he would perform better against Sri Lanka, India and England. Perhaps the selectors, in their arrogance, should have had a thoughtful chat with Mike Hussey before the Ponting shoulder tap.

  • POSTED BY Mary_786 on | March 13, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    @Hyclass good points. I have just read Michael Clarke's article in today's Daily Terror:"…If you want to play at the elite level, you need to be fully committed or you will struggle to be part of this team."And then it hit me! Right between the eyes!!'Elite level' must mean 'test cricket' & 'this team' must mean 'Australian test team. I'm just wondering. the effect of the role that T20 cricket has had on the traditional formats of the game. ;It seems that perhaps the younger players have become so besotted with the easy money to be made in BBL, IPL, Champions League, etc, & the looser disciplines involved in T20, that it is having a downward effect on the skills & disciplines required for test & Sheffield Shield cricket. Khawaja and Cowan would be excused from this as they don't have an IPL contract(and who are probably the 2 hard workers but the rest do. And this shows that Clarke is hinting at the whole squad lacking motivation, not just the gang of 4 who we are conveniently blaming.

  • POSTED BY Beertjie on | March 13, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Spot on @srriaj317 on (March 13, 2013, 9:03 GMT)! So why did the NSP take such "a young and inexperienced squad" in the first place? Why did they not arrange an A tour of India to give young and inexperienced Aussies a taste of the conditions? More to the point did you omit players who the public (and in one instance, Argus himself!) thought should have been there because you already considered them problematic on the grounds you now cite? Why was Hughes' cluelessness against spin not foreseen? Isn't the answer to that and other questions that certain individuals are highly regarded (in other words, capt./coach's favourites), while others are discriminated against despite apparently being worthy enough in the eyes of the public? If players like Hughes deserve protection when the going gets tough, isn't it logical that they will fail when tested under adverse conditions? Methinks the culture of the team is in a very bad space and more failures are in the offing now and in England.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    Gee being in the Australian cricket team sounds like a barrel of laughs. Like any workplace if it is not a very enjoyable place to be then surely workers morale will be low. The misdemeanors he mentions are trivial to say the least - instead of writing essays go out and have a few beers and bond as a team. Oh wait I suppose they will have to drink at a bar of Michael Clarke's choosing, he will also decide what they drink, what would be suitable attire, what they should talk about, and what jokes that they can and can't laugh at, and that he must be centre of attention flanked by Phil Hughes and David Warner.

  • POSTED BY Nerk on | March 13, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    There is a difference between tough decisions and the right one. With morale low, the worst thing a coach could have done would be to play the iron glove. This is what Arthur did. It is possible that the lads will forget this and work harder, but odds are that the team will divide itself into two factions - those who support the coach and those who are against him. This may lead to the danger of the XI being picked upon those who support the coach, rather than those who deserve to be there. Furthermore, has anyone thought that this is a ploy by management to get the press and public off their backs for some rather questionable selections in the previous test matches.

  • POSTED BY nosebreaker on | March 13, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Arthur's problem is that the team does not respect him. He needs to look at himself and figure out why. Ultimately it could be as simple as he is not the right fit for the job.....doesn't mean he is not a good coach. The damage done here is irreperable, and he has to go before the Ashes. I doubt anyone in international cricket will employ him after this. His best option is to take some time off after the wihte wash in India, and look at Franchise cricket....sorry Micky you have cooked your goose!!!!!

  • POSTED BY hycIass on | March 13, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    Clarke, for all his run making prowess and tactical nous, does not appear to be great at man management - Martyn, Katich, Hussey and now Watson all seem to have had problems with him. What's going on there?The fact that the coach can't get a third of a touring party to respond to his requests says we've got major problems there. How have they been allowed to develop to this state?Pattinson, khawaja and Watson should be in the Mohali test, without Khawaja our top order woes will continue and without Pattinson we can't get 20 wickets. Its important to keep in mind that the gang of 4 is not responsible for the discretions Arthur is referring to, the whole squad is and we should never forget that. 2 out of the 4 guys(i.e Khawaja, Johnson) in this gang haven't played a match yet

  • POSTED BY X_Bat on | March 13, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    So it is just 'minor indiscretions' that have resulted in the banning of 4 cricketers from the test team. On the other hand, Arthur, Clark and Dovey are collectively culpable of a major indiscretion in the way they have handled it. Skinfolds? Sounds like they haven't got the Delhi bug yet! I am interested to know what sort of appeal process is available to the 4 banned cricketers or do they just have to suck it in, in fear of reprisal. I am disappointed with the Australian Cricket Board. They should see through this and support our best cricketers.

  • POSTED BY Pete789 on | March 13, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    Players should be dropped ONLY on the basis of performance ON THE FIELD, (unless it's a serious offence like taking drugs).

    Mickey Arthur and Michael Clark should be fired for bringing Australian cricket into disrepute.

    In contrast, take a look at what England captain Alastair Cook did - he got Kevin Pietersen back into the side after what were major indiscretions compared to what the Aussies did. The result? England won 2-1 against India IN India.

    Do we want a winning Aussie team, or a team that loses but the players behave like obedient schoolkids and the captain and coach behave like power-crazed prefects and headmasters?

  • POSTED BY Big_Maxy_Walker on | March 13, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    I didn't much like pontings on field captaincy, but obviously he was a good man manager. A number of these players were around when ponting was captain and nothing much happened then, so Clarke as captain and Arthur as coach are the change that has created these problems. Interesting how gary Kirsten turned south Africa into a world beater after mickey Arthur left. Yep I think its a case of yes men for Clarke and Arthur. Many nsw players in there for a state side that's won bugger all recently. not one qld player from the side which holds all the trophies. Im glad I don't have foxtel because its a waste of money to see a compromised Australia b(not good enough even for an a team) play.

  • POSTED BY handyandy on | March 13, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    High skinfolds?

    Under this regime i am guessing that Shane Warne, Darren Lehmann and Merv Hughes wouldn't get a game.

    Also since when was backchat ever a problem in Australian cricket. There is nothing wrong with a player showing a little attitude.

    Mind you any player that has shown some attitude under Clarke usually doesn't stay part of the Australian team for very long.

  • POSTED BY bestbuddy on | March 13, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    @Haleos, Arthurs job is not to work on the cricketing skills of these players - that is the job of the state coaches, and the players themselves while at state level. If these are not good enough when they arrive to play for the national team, then why were they selected in the first place? Arthurs job is to ensure that the team has plans in place for forthcoming fixtures, to ensure they are prepared for the type of format and conditions under which the next game will be played. His most important job is also to ensure these players are mentally prepared for international cricket. No one doubts these players talent, but if they are going to consistently act unprofessionally, and not listen to the management of the team, not buy into the team ethic and take responsibility for their failings then they do not deserve their spot in the squad. The right choice has been made

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | March 13, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    I never thought Mickey Arthur was all that good a coach during his South Africa tenure and I still don't find him all that good a coach now. A bit like that Buchanan who wasn't all that good but it was the team that performed and he reaped in its glory. Give Buchanan the job now and he won't do any better than Arthur. Tom Moody was a far superior coach. Unfortunately he never coached Australia.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Correct, excellent, tough, character building decision made by Micky Arthur and co. If you want to succeed at anything and be the best in the world then you need to make tough decisions, have a disciplined approach to everything and a desire to want to be the best. Failing to complete the simple things are like riding a bike without any spokes, you cant go very far until it falls over. Line in the sand time, look out England!

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    As an Aussie Cricket supporter, i fully back Mickey Arthur, Michael Clarke, and the executive. Shane Watson, has done so many negative interviews in the past 12 to 18 months, not once supporting the team set-up, or the Captain. Only stupid people, don`t understand why Watson, has so many injuries, he is not committed to rehabilitation, or listening too advice. It`s not his body that keeps letting him down, but his, attitude, and Brain. Australian Cricket, coaches, and selectors, have tried for near on a decade, too assist him, but these recurring soft tissue injuries, are his fault only, he neglects the advice of medical professionals, preferring to bench press weights, so his upper body looks good. Last season alone, Watson earned 5.9 Million Dollars, out of cricket alone, he is an arrogant, player, and is even more arrogant and aloof, in normal life.

  • POSTED BY atpoint on | March 13, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Mickey Arthur says he 'knew the decision would polarise public opinion' and that 'it was absolutely the right decision'. Given the image of Australian cricket has been damaged by the public airing of these issues and 4+ players publicly humiliated, we have to ask if this was the intention of coach and captain. Maybe betters ways to deal with all of this ... you think?

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Why did these sort of issues did not come fore during Ponting's tenure ? Watson, Johnson..they were playing... weren't they ? A person's behavior depends on how he perceives his surroundings.

    The coach need to go through some behavioral lessons. The leadership team couldn't handle the minor indiscretions properly. Giving latitude and flexibility doesn't prove you have handled it well. Leading is like an art which this leadership team has failed to master.

    CA should change the heads in the leadership team- including captain, coach and manager and also reprimand the four players. I know its not going to happen anyway!

  • POSTED BY srriaj317 on | March 13, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    When Arthur mentions "backchat and giving attitude", how come Glenn 'The Big Show' Maxwell hasn't been reprimanded??? First of all how was a T20 player even brought on a challenging Test tour? Finally Arthur decides to draw a discretionary line-in-the sand moment which affects genuine contenders for Test match places and now we watch T20 players Maxwell and Smith play tests instead. The public is not paying to watch a second-grade team getting thrashed in an overseas Test tour.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Really sad that CA has decided to leave out potential match winners in Pattinson, Johnson and Watson when they are looking to salvage some sort of result for the remainder of the test series...

    If the handling of the "minor indiscretions" were expedited, surely the current scenario would have been averted.

    You would think that the "man-managers" would have known better than to allow the "minor indiscretions" to fester to such an extent that the " latitude and flexibility" has now come back to kick them in the teeth.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 13, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    The bit that concerns me the most is - the backchat. Who is backchatting who? Funny that people complain they were treated like Schoolboys - yet back chatting would be a Schoolby trait imo!

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | March 13, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    If Arthur had spent half time he spent on these things on Cricketing skills of the players (which actually matters) the story would have been different. Cricket can not always be treated like a management firm. He sounds like a headmaster at school.

  • POSTED BY Haleos on | March 13, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    If Arthur had spent half time he spent on these things on Cricketing skills of the players (which actually matters) the story would have been different. Cricket can not always be treated like a management firm. He sounds like a headmaster at school.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | March 13, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    The bit that concerns me the most is - the backchat. Who is backchatting who? Funny that people complain they were treated like Schoolboys - yet back chatting would be a Schoolby trait imo!

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Really sad that CA has decided to leave out potential match winners in Pattinson, Johnson and Watson when they are looking to salvage some sort of result for the remainder of the test series...

    If the handling of the "minor indiscretions" were expedited, surely the current scenario would have been averted.

    You would think that the "man-managers" would have known better than to allow the "minor indiscretions" to fester to such an extent that the " latitude and flexibility" has now come back to kick them in the teeth.

  • POSTED BY srriaj317 on | March 13, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    When Arthur mentions "backchat and giving attitude", how come Glenn 'The Big Show' Maxwell hasn't been reprimanded??? First of all how was a T20 player even brought on a challenging Test tour? Finally Arthur decides to draw a discretionary line-in-the sand moment which affects genuine contenders for Test match places and now we watch T20 players Maxwell and Smith play tests instead. The public is not paying to watch a second-grade team getting thrashed in an overseas Test tour.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 9:05 GMT

    Why did these sort of issues did not come fore during Ponting's tenure ? Watson, Johnson..they were playing... weren't they ? A person's behavior depends on how he perceives his surroundings.

    The coach need to go through some behavioral lessons. The leadership team couldn't handle the minor indiscretions properly. Giving latitude and flexibility doesn't prove you have handled it well. Leading is like an art which this leadership team has failed to master.

    CA should change the heads in the leadership team- including captain, coach and manager and also reprimand the four players. I know its not going to happen anyway!

  • POSTED BY atpoint on | March 13, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Mickey Arthur says he 'knew the decision would polarise public opinion' and that 'it was absolutely the right decision'. Given the image of Australian cricket has been damaged by the public airing of these issues and 4+ players publicly humiliated, we have to ask if this was the intention of coach and captain. Maybe betters ways to deal with all of this ... you think?

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    As an Aussie Cricket supporter, i fully back Mickey Arthur, Michael Clarke, and the executive. Shane Watson, has done so many negative interviews in the past 12 to 18 months, not once supporting the team set-up, or the Captain. Only stupid people, don`t understand why Watson, has so many injuries, he is not committed to rehabilitation, or listening too advice. It`s not his body that keeps letting him down, but his, attitude, and Brain. Australian Cricket, coaches, and selectors, have tried for near on a decade, too assist him, but these recurring soft tissue injuries, are his fault only, he neglects the advice of medical professionals, preferring to bench press weights, so his upper body looks good. Last season alone, Watson earned 5.9 Million Dollars, out of cricket alone, he is an arrogant, player, and is even more arrogant and aloof, in normal life.

  • POSTED BY on | March 13, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Correct, excellent, tough, character building decision made by Micky Arthur and co. If you want to succeed at anything and be the best in the world then you need to make tough decisions, have a disciplined approach to everything and a desire to want to be the best. Failing to complete the simple things are like riding a bike without any spokes, you cant go very far until it falls over. Line in the sand time, look out England!

  • POSTED BY SamRoy on | March 13, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    I never thought Mickey Arthur was all that good a coach during his South Africa tenure and I still don't find him all that good a coach now. A bit like that Buchanan who wasn't all that good but it was the team that performed and he reaped in its glory. Give Buchanan the job now and he won't do any better than Arthur. Tom Moody was a far superior coach. Unfortunately he never coached Australia.

  • POSTED BY bestbuddy on | March 13, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    @Haleos, Arthurs job is not to work on the cricketing skills of these players - that is the job of the state coaches, and the players themselves while at state level. If these are not good enough when they arrive to play for the national team, then why were they selected in the first place? Arthurs job is to ensure that the team has plans in place for forthcoming fixtures, to ensure they are prepared for the type of format and conditions under which the next game will be played. His most important job is also to ensure these players are mentally prepared for international cricket. No one doubts these players talent, but if they are going to consistently act unprofessionally, and not listen to the management of the team, not buy into the team ethic and take responsibility for their failings then they do not deserve their spot in the squad. The right choice has been made