Shattered Watson quits tour

Written By Unknown on Senin, 11 Maret 2013 | 23.40

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Stood down ... Shane Watson didn't meet team guidelines. Source: Rick Rycroft / AP

Australia's selection crisis took an extraordinary twist tonight with Shane Watson quitting the tour to be with his pregnant wife in the wake of his sacking for the third Test.

In one of the most dramatic days in Australian cricket history, coach Mickey Arthur dropped a bombshell on the team by dumping Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja for breaching team discipline.

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The quartet were stood down from selection for one match for failing to take part in a peer review of the side's dismal performance in the second Test.

But the team was rocked by a second ruction late tonight, with vice-captain Watson deciding to leave India to be with wife Lee, who is heavily pregnant and due to give birth.

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It is unknown if Watson's sacking was the driving force behind the decision but coach Mickey Arthur said yesterday he was left shattered when informed of his demotion by Australian hierarchy.

Shane Watson exits the team hotel. Source: News Limited

The departure of Watson is a savage blow to the Australian team and could have huge ramifications for his future as vice-captain.

In a landmark day for Australian cricket, coach Mickey Arthur revealed the quartet have been stood down for one match for not taking part in a written review following the side's heavy innings defeat in the second Test.

The 16-man touring party was asked to complete a personal review of the team's culture and expectations and the improvements needed to be made for the third Test starting Thursday.

Arthur said Watson, Pattinson, Khawaja and Johnson had failed to submit a personal analysis - prompting team hierarchy to immediately rule the group out for the Test in Mohali.

The coach said the quartet are "gutted". He added it was the toughest day of his coaching career, but a step necessary in his goal to make Australia's the No.1 Test side in world cricket.

While the contingent will be considered for the fourth Test in Delhi, Arthur said the decision was a "line in the sand" for Australian cricket.

The fallout is particularly severe for Watson, who is the Australian vice-captain and has been under pressure after a dismal run of form at Test level in the past 18 months.

Arthur said that after going two down in the series the team was "really hurting."

"We were discussing ways to get back in the series. I asked the players to give me a presentation individually.

"I wanted three points from them - technically, mentally and team - as to  how we were going to get back into the series.

"Unfortunately four players did not comply with that.

"We pride ourselves on attitude - we have given the players a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right. 

"We believe those behaviours were not consistent with what we want to do with this team, how we want to take this team to be the best in the world.

"The teams that are best in the world have best attitudes, have best behaviour patterns and have a good hard ruthless culture."

Pattinson is Australia's leading wicket-taker in the series with eight wickets at 23.62. Watson has scored 77 runs at 19.25.

Former Australian captain Allan Border said he was surprised the players had been axed for the reasons given  and labelled the decision as an "over the top reaction".

"It seems a bit of a strong measure for a coach or captain to take," Border told Fox Sports News.

"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.

"I haven't seen anything quite like this - there have been players stood down for bad behaviour or breaking curfews but something like this where you have basically refused to fill out a performance review, it's the first time I've ever heard of it."

"I'm stunned," said former Test player Mark Waugh. "I just want to know what would have happened if eight of the guys hadn't filled in the form, we wouldn't have a team for the game.

"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." 

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