Michael Clarke: Behaviour of axed Australia players 'unacceptable'
Australia skipper Michael Clarke says the decision to axe four players from the squad was the right one for the team.
Last Updated: 13/03/13 8:52am
Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were all dropped from the squad for failing to return "homework" set them by coach Mickey Arthur in which they were to come up with ideas on how to improve their performance and that of the team.
Watson subsequently flew home to Australia saying that he is considering his future in the game.
But Clarke said the "homework" issue was only the latest in a long line of problems within the camp and that the players' failure to carry out the task was "unacceptable."
"I want the public and the media to understand, don't get me wrong, it's not just about one incident," he said.
"Firstly on this tour our performances have been unacceptable and there has been some stuff off the field that has been unacceptable for the standards an Australian cricket team needs to present itself to achieve what we are trying to achieve.
"I know it is a tough day, a really tough day and it's a tough decision, but at the end of the day if people are not hitting those standards there are going to be consequences.
"Our head coach gave us two days off after the second Test, it was about freshening yourself up, get your rehabilitation done, your recovery, do what you have to do, get everything right for the next two Test matches, because the next two Test matches are as big as you might have in your career and you have an opportunity to turn this series around.
"We were asked to do one thing from the head coach. It was giving information back to the head coach about not only improving your game - what you've learnt from the first two Test matches - but also how can you help this team turn things around and have success.
"It was a very simple task. Yes, it took a lot of thinking because you had to look at your game and where you thought you could improve, what you had learnt and what you could do to help this team level this series.
"In my opinion, for the four players to not do it, not only does it let the team down, it also shows a lack of respect for the head coach and in the Australian cricket team that is unacceptable."
Pattinson has taken his punishment, saying: "It sends a message to everyone here that we're playing Test cricket and to be a Test cricketer you have to get 100 per cent of things right and give everything for the team.
"In the end there's no individual that comes higher than the team and I think this is a perfect example of that.
"So leading into this massive summer we've got over in England and then into the Ashes back home, this is just that stepping stone which could lead to something special in the future."
There has been criticism in some parts of the Australian media over the severity of the punishment, but Pattinson believes it was justified.
He said: "I think this is the kick in the bum to make you really realise what we've got and what we really want and that is to get to number one.
"People might say it's a harsh punishment for a small thing but I think if we look outside the actual thing we did wrong then it's other stuff as well, it builds up.
"If you really look deeply, like I did at it, you can see why it's happened and I think it's just going to make us a better team, with a better mentality and a better culture in the long run."