Wednesday March 13, 2013
Australian cricket in crisis as players fail to do homework
SYDNEY: Australia’s preparations for their Ashes double-header against England have been plunged into turmoil after four players were axed for not doing a homework assignment during the tour of India.
Vice-captain Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson were all suspended for one Test late on Monday in what Australian media called “one of the most sensational days in Australian cricket history”.
A shattered Watson opted to return home and suggested he may quit Test cricket altogether.
Trailing 2-0 in the Indian Test series, all the players had been told to prepare feedback on how they could improve and were given five days to deliver it, but four failed to meet the deadline and paid a heavy price.
Skipper Michael Clarke said the players had shown a lack of respect for coach Mickey Arthur, with their axing the culmination of a general slide in attitudes on the Indian tour.
In a video statement released by Cricket Australia, an exhausted-looking Clarke made clear it was not an isolated incident.
“It’s a lot bigger than that. There’s been a number of things on this tour that have not been up to the standard we would want as an Australian cricket team, hence our performance,” he said.
“We can’t accept mediocrity here. This is the Australian cricket team.
“Four of our players did not adhere to what is required from them, and that is unacceptable if you want to be a part of the Australian cricket team,” he added.
Watson, 31, was due back in Australia yesterday, leaving Clarke desperately short of experienced heads after the recent retirement of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey.
“Any time you’re suspended for a Test match, unless you do something unbelievably wrong, and obviously everyone knows what those rules are ... I think it is very harsh,” Watson said. — AFP