Melbourne: Coach Mickey Arthur has received applause from a section of Australian media while a few experts pilloried him for the "nonsense" decision to axe four players from the side on disciplinary ground. The majority of the Australian cricket fraternity has also criticised Arthur for the stunning move, but the national media feels the players' attitude was unprofessional and disregardful of the baggy green.
"What a disgrace. Australia's infamous four deserve not a shred of sympathy for their feckless disregard for the team ethos and culture aimed at returning Australia to the apex of world cricket," a 'Herald Sun' report read. "In the past week, coach Mickey Arthur and the selectors have copped an absolute hammering from Australian cricket fans for the team's dismal performances on this wretched tour of India..."Today, Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur should be applauded for their relentless desire to bring success back to Australian cricket," it added.
Watson and three other key players -- pacers James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson and batsman Usman Khawaja were dropped from the squad for the third Test for failing to make a presentation on how to improve their personal as well as the team's performance. "The actions of Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja are a kick in the guts for the standards of excellence Clarke and Arthur are trying to establish," the report said.
"That one of the four should openly be seen smiling just moments after the announcement underlines the attitudinal problems that are eroding the team's collective ambitions. Watson, Johnson, Pattinson and Khawaja are paid more than 500,000 a year to play cricket for their country. That they failed to take part in a peer review aimed at improving the team is an indictment on their professionalism and shows a lack of respect for their colleagues and the baggy green," the report added.
Another major daily of Australia, 'The Sydney Morning Herald' also stood behind Arthur and Clarke, saying the quartet had only got themselves to blame for their axing. "The standing down of four squad members - including the vice-captain Shane Watson - is the head coach's undeniable statement that enough is enough. It has already echoed around the cricket world. At home it was met with incredulity. How could professional sportsmen be treated as children? How can they be sacked for not completing homework? Is this an early April Fool's joke?
"The quartet's failure to complete the task asked of them - to deliver a presentation, by email or in person, explaining their virtues - was simply the trigger, however. The attitudes among some had been slipping before this assignment was handed out. Not all players are completing the 'wellness reports' that they are meant to fill in every morning, and the management team - Arthur, captain Michael Clarke and team manager Gavin Dovey - argue discipline has been on the slide for some time," the report added.
However sports columnist, Peter FitzSimons wrote in 'The Age' that Arthur has not yet understood the "tradition" and "culture" of the game in his country. Peter wrote that the sacking is "not simply a ludicrous over-reaction to what should have been solved over a drink and a chat but it has "pressed the alarm button of everyone in the country, steeped in the traditions of the game, who have grown up with it, and love it, and now see that it has come to this."
"Young Mickey, we don't do this kind of nonsense here. We don't mind you going on about it in private, in your odd meetings, and carrying on about self-improvement, and self-awareness, and all that touchy-feely mumbo-jumbo. But come game-time, in the public arena, we dont care for it. It is in fact, perilously close to un-Australian, which is why the reaction to your action has been so huge," he wrote.
Addressing Arthur, Peter said with his actions, he has turned himself and the team into a laughing stock, totally torn the fabric of the team apart, severely damaged the credibility and reputation of Michael Clarke as a captain. Taking a dig at him, Peter also asked Arthur to write a 3000-word essay on "how a South African from nowhere managed to get the job in the first place, and how he is going to try and make good the extraordinary damage he has wrought. And I want it on my desk by 9am tomorrow, or YOU will face the consequences!".
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