Melbourne: The Australian media on Monday backed the team management's decision to suspend four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, ahead of the third Test against India, saying the "infamous four deserve no sympathy for their feckless disregard for the team ethos and culture".
The majority of the Australian cricketing fraternity may have criticised coach Mickey Arthur for the unprecedented move, but a report in the Herald Sun lauded the coach and captain Michael Clarke for their bold decision.
"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," the 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. They have been dubbed a shambles. A team with serious performance problems. Some may have even questioned their passion, and whether they truly care about the baggy green. 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 after the innings and 135 runs defeat in the second Test in Hyderabad.
"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.
"Known to be intolerable towards bad attitudes or players who put themselves before the team Arthur gathered Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja aside, one by one, and spelled out a few home truths," a report in the daily said.
"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.
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