'It's not under-6s, this is Test cricket'

The cricket world reacts to the axing of Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja from the Mohali Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 11, 2013

Comments: 177 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke has a word with Shane Watson, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 3rd day, December 16, 2012
'Adults we are, not schoolboys!' © Getty Images
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"I'm surprised that's the penalty for something so mundane. It seems like it was on a schoolboy tour or something. It's an over the top reaction."
Former Australia captain Allan Border

"I'm stunned. I've never heard of this sort of thing before at top level in any sport. When you are losing there are niggling things there but they're grown men, it's not school boy stuff. It's not under-6s, this is Test cricket… there would have been a better way."
Former Australia batsman Mark Waugh

"From my experience report writing is not a player's strength, no surprise to hear some failing, need to focus more on field short comings?"
Former Australia allrounder Tom Moody

"As I have always said the coach should not be a selector. He should communicate well with the players and help them prepare, that's it! Regarding the issue of four players being unavailable for Aust selection due to not delivering homework or a report to the coach, the answer is simple: the captain runs the team and in conjunction with the selectors picks the team. The captain should always have final say. Ridiculous what's happening."
Former Australia spinner Shane Warne

"Adults we are, not schoolboys! Please let's act properly and make good decisions in India! Need these boys playing."
Former Australia batsman Darren Lehmann

"To many wrong people are picked for jobs who give a fancy presentation!!"
Former Australia batsman Damien Martyn

"What is going on with Aussie Cricket?? Didn't realise you had to do an essay to get a selection these days..!!!!!"
Former England captain Michael Vaughan

"Implications from these actions are serious.. I feel it is deeper than it appears. Aust are in trouble!!"
Former Australia batsman Dean Jones

"Disappointed in the news of the players being sent home. Lead up to the Ashes is struggling. Need to get back on top #ausvind #breakingpoint"
Former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy

"Financially cricket is great these days, but I'm glad I played when it was enjoyable and cricket was all that mattered - wickets and runs."
Former England fast bowler Darren Gough

"To punish players for not being able to produce a PowerPoint presentation is baffling. They just haven't done their homework and to punish them is ridiculous. They have not been out until four in the morning, they have not been jumping off ferries or putting hands through doors."
Former England bowler Matthew Hoggard

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

What's the point in asking players to do things if there's no punishment for not doing them? A lot of criticism has been levelled at the management for dropping these players, but very little at the players themselves for not following their coach's orders. None of these players is KP: they can either disrespect the coach or keep being in the side, not both. Watson shouldn't be there in any case if he's not bowling. The only problem with this decision is it leaves them a batsman short for the next test, but that's more to do with squad selection (they should have picked a batsman instead of a Steve Smith).

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 12, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

"It's not under-6s, this is Test cricket" - yes & its about time that many international players & ex-players started behaving like it is/was the most important part of their careers... Their behaviour would be seen as intolerable by most "professional" sporting codes including AFL & NRL teams with players getting much bigger penalties than a 1 game ban...

Posted by Kulaputra on (March 12, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

I only hope for sanity and test cricket's sake, India do not lose in Mohali and go onto clean the series 4-0.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

With 100s of options Aussies selected Mickey Arthur for this job who is asking for ideas from its players. He shud share his salary with the players.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

From the little information that is out in the public eye, it definitely seems to be a very harsh punishment. And quite unusual for an Aussie team to do this. Of course, what is not known is whether the team was informed of the consequences of not providing feedback, or, if there are more sinister issues behind this suspension. A possible leadership coup from Watto along with support from some of the bowlers might be something that one needs to check out on. Either way, it is going to make it an interesting test. Poor Dhoni and team - even if they continue to play well and Win this will take some of the sheen off their performance. It is just not cricket!!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 12, 2013, 7:48 GMT)

@ IndChamps. Calling Clarke shrewd is a bit more than an overstatement. The skipper who just became the first ever to declare and then lose a test by an innings just crippled his team by sacking 4 of his most valuable players for not doing their homework! That is not shrewd, that's plain dumb, and shows a severe lack of strong, inspiring leadership. If anything, Clarke should be sacked for failing to provide the leadership that inspires teams to win. If this team is in such turmoil, the questions should start at the top

Shrewd is not hanging out a team's dirty laundry for all to see. Shrewd is not inviting condemnation from all over the world. Shrewd is not making the Aus team the butt of hundreds of twitter jokes. He just handed the psychological advantage to India. Dhoni will be shrewd and capitalise on that!

Clarke has laid the blame for his team's poor performance squarely on the players, instead of standing up and admitting that he has not inspired his team to perform.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

Had Australia, been this heavy on Dumping players back in the late '70' 80 early '90 half or even more of these Australian Legends would not be House hold names. Australian Cricket would never have Dominated like it did, as no one would of been available to play due to Essay writing Suspensions.... At least Border knew how to captain and any Issues where sorted on the Field or Dressing Room, Everyone remembers the Legendary Words He gave McDermott, instead of not letting him bowl or even worse dump him for life (Katich) gave him the ball so he could proof himself!! Sorry Clarke your loosing this Team , maybe Time to Talk to some past Captains?

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (March 12, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

Most people I see, think that it the coach's job to figure out what went wrong when you lose. Of course it is job to think too... but a good coach is one who makes the players do the thinking themselves and come up with a plan to which they can take ownership to deliver the right results. A coach may lay out a plan but if the players refuse to take ownership and commit to results then the plan is pretty useless. The Aussies didn't quite fail in the skills department. They failed in the applications department, which is why the introspection tool employed by the coach to guide the players to better performance is so vital. The Aussies think they can't win in India and until they do, they can't. Cook came to India confident of putting up a stiff fight and in the process won. The Indians have a lot to learn about their own performances overseas from the way the English and Aussies have handled themselves in India now. Good case studies!

Posted by Earth-kar on (March 12, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

@big_al_81...I disagree with you when you say that the team management's actions shouldn't be harshly criticized. The team management is totally guilty here. I agree that team members must show qualities of being a team player and so on, but the whole exercise must have been discrete. The management has to be harshly criticized because it is their decisions ultimately that affects team harmony; removing people from a team is not a joke and one cannot escape criticism if it doesn't have solid reasoning. The fact that they chose to drop people for frivolous reasons invited opinions on twitter. A wayward player/employee can still be counseled but nothing can be worse than a group of dumb decision makers.

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