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This is Mickey Arthur's boo-boo

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People who make it to the international stage in any sport are generally the ones who have worked hard at the sport. They have disciplined themselves or been disciplined by others and have put in the extra effort. Of course, the exceptionally talented are exceptions. They very rarely have to work hard. If they do, they become legends. But essentially, they stay away from paperwork.

The recent dumping of three Australian cricketers and Mitchell Johnson is the comical incentive that might regain interest in the India-Australia series. This 'boarding school discipline' has drastically reduced Australia's chances of winning a session, let alone a match. Khawaja and Johnson are collateral damage as far as India are concerned. Their main victory is the exclusion of Pattinson and Watson.

Shane Watson didn't make a big score in the first two Tests but looked good everytime he walked out to the crease and that's not a reference to his physical appearance. Despite the latent homosexuality within each individual, 'looked good' referred to his assured footwork and confident strokeplay. His dismissals in the 2nd Test could be considered slightly unfortuitous. His 'unavailability' steals Australia of the chance of putting up a substantial score.

James Pattinson, if in the Indian team, would have been forgiven for not filling his citizenship application form too. A fast bowler of his calibre would be India's crown jewel. On field he has been giving it his all. Off field, apparently not. As a rule, wouldn't it be best to keep him on the field?

All this has happened because these four failed to submit an assignment. The assignment, according to reports, was to evaluate one's own performance and suggest improvements. Which performance was Khawaja and Johnson supposed to evaluate? Isn't that the coach's job or does that not come under his purview?

Yes, when all the other players could do it, why couldn't the four of them is a valid argument. However, leaving players out of the team for not submitting a written performance report is a laughable punishment. If this is Mickey Arthur's way of showing he is in control, it begs the question is he really? Considering the state of the tour, such a rash decision was the last thing Australia needed. This is an arrogant action fuelled by the egotistical reason of 'because I can.' Arthur should know, there are other ways to reprimand a player.

Albeit a different bunch, this was not how Mickey handled the South African team. The team was quite mature, but had players like Gibbs. Still, the coach never shared much of the limelight.

Michael Clarke said, "I want the public and the media to understand, don't get me wrong, it's not just about one incident. 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."

From this, it can be gleaned that maybe the coach's authority wasn't being taken seriously. This whole episode will certainly instill a bit of fear in the players but will it garner respect? If respect is what Arthur is looking for, he has stumbled off the path. If fear is what he was hoping for, Australia should find another coach.



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