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Australian cricket is just a laughing stock

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    James Pattinson is running out of time to get his body up to Test standards. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

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    Australian cricket is officially a laughing stock. As if there wasn’t enough evidence of late to support that theory, yesterday came the definitive moment: four players dropped for not doing their homework.

    No, that’s not a misprint, you read right. Four Australian Test cricketers were not considered for selection in the third Test against India because they failed to complete a homework assignment.

    What a complete farce.

    The task the players were meant to complete involved listing three points on how their individual performances and those of the team could be improved after the team suffered a heavy loss in the second Test.

    Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson failed to do so.

    The players were informed of their requirements on Tuesday night, and had until Saturday to deliver them. Every other member of the squad did so, but the four who didn’t were punished by not being considered for the next game.

    Disgraceful.

    You would hope after being annihilated in Hyderabad, the Australian players would be jumping out of the skin in looking for ways to improve their performance. Instead, these four players seemingly couldn’t be bothered.

    Honestly, it would have taken five minutes for them to complete the task, even if they didn’t care.

    Yet that’s the point, they should have cared. They should have wanted to spend a considerable amount of time really analysing how the team could get better after such an embarrassing loss.

    Instead, the vice-captain showed zero leadership skills, the reserve batsman certainly didn’t exhibit a ‘leave no stone unturned’ approach to getting selected, a fast bowler who has missed significant time to injury risked missing another Test for no valid reason, and a veteran bowler failed to set a good example for the younger players in the squad.

    Watson and Johnson should have known better, and did nothing for their reputations of being selfish and mentally lazy, respectively.

    Khawaja should be doing everything he can to get into the Test team, while you would hope Pattinson shared Peter Siddle’s passion for the baggy green.

    All should be extremely embarrassed. Not so much because they failed to do their homework, but because they gave every impression that they don’t care about the team improving.

    Selfish, immature, irresponsible and lazy. Not exactly the qualities expected or needed of Australia’s Test cricketers.

    Yet, by the same token, the punishment is ridiculous. A complete and utter overreaction.

    I totally understand the sentiment that a line in the sand needs to be drawn occasionally, and that the players should be held accountable for their actions. Yet surely there are other ways to punish the players?

    Significant fines, extra fitness sessions, public ridiculing, loss of certain privileges, detention, no playing with their toys, a Twitter ban, straight to bed with no dessert.

    I’m almost certain an alternative punishment could have been utilised, one which doesn’t hurt the team’s Test chances, yet still highlights the severity of the indiscretion by the offending players.

    And what would have happened if eight players had failed to do the homework? Would the side have forfeited?

    Whichever way you analyse the drama, it suggests something is seriously wrong with Australian cricket.

    Any scenario in which players do not fulfil their duties, show a lack of respect towards the coaches, give the impression they don’t care about the team, and are ambivalent towards the team improving, suggests all is not well within the Australian change room.

    Such a notion is confirmed when team management react in such an over-the-top, heavy-handed manner; one that screams of attempting to show who the real boss is.

    It’s a sorry state of affairs, and there are few winners from the whole fiasco – apart from perhaps Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith, who may earn themselves another baggy green by sheer default.

    After the heavy loss in the second Test, many people asked if Australia had hit rock bottom. I scoffed at the suggestion, believing that to be far removed from the truth.

    Now I’m not so sure.

     

    Ryan O
    Ryan O'Connell

    Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.

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    The Crowd Says (372)

    • Roar Guru

      March 12th 2013 @ 4:42am
      Harsh Sinha said | March 12th 2013 @ 4:42am | ! Report

      Australia without Pattinson and Johnson in Mohali’s fast boucy wicket, will surely pay the price. All hail Micky Arthur lol 😛

      • March 12th 2013 @ 8:37am
        Praveen said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        I just couldn’t believe what I am hearing in the radio, this is a PR stunt at its best, the guys didn’t miss training nor had a late night, I think this should be trade straw and we should get a new coach, Lehman wouldn’t be a bad replacemt

    • March 12th 2013 @ 4:53am
      tonyp said | March 12th 2013 @ 4:53am | ! Report

      what seems pretty clear is that there has been more stuff going on

      and it is also clear that the captain does not agree with you

      is it not unreasonable to expect the vice captain to make an appropriate contribution ( after all he hasn’t done much on the field!)

      • Columnist

        March 12th 2013 @ 10:23am
        Ryan O'Connell said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        I think, judging from Clarke and Arthur’s comments, that there is certainly more to this and is far from an isolated incident.

        • Roar Guru

          March 12th 2013 @ 10:38am
          Rabbitz said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:38am | ! Report

          Has Stephen Dank been in India of late?

          • Columnist

            March 12th 2013 @ 1:22pm
            Ryan O'Connell said | March 12th 2013 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

            Considering how badly Essendon and Cronulla went the year they supposedly took banned substances, perhaps he’s the Australian cricket sports’ scientist?

    • Roar Guru

      March 12th 2013 @ 6:01am
      biltongbek said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:01am | ! Report

      Ryan I agree with you it is disgraceful that the four players didn’t care enough to do what was required, however I disagree with you that the punishment is over the top.

      I am trying to think what better way they could be punished and honestly I can’t think of anything else.

      From an outsider’s point of view it seems all is not gelling in the Australian camp, the only is to measure commitment from players, even if it is of seemingly low importance. In fact that is likely the best way to test commitment, ask someone to do something trivial and see what happens.

      The first thing Arthur would want from his squad is commitment, now the players know that in no uncertain terms.

      The way forward has now been established.

      • March 12th 2013 @ 6:09am
        Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:09am | ! Report

        Drivel.
        You don’t boost morale and improve performance by requesting meaningless crap from professionals. You don’t garner respect from the people you are trying to lead by acting like a dictator either. Arthur is treating the team like schoolboys so it is hardly surprising when they ignore what he’s saying.

        • Roar Guru

          March 12th 2013 @ 6:47am
          biltongbek said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:47am | ! Report

          Nonesense, you are making a boatload full of assumptions. How do you know his manner of player management prior to this, it seems to me he was too lenient and hence no accountability to the individuals was present.

          Jotting ideas down as to how to solve performance issues and how to improve performance or solve problem areas have been written down in many a professional field.

          Ever heard of don’t remember it, write it down?

          Putting thoughts on paper helps to order the mind.

          • March 12th 2013 @ 7:36am
            Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:36am | ! Report

            1. Players that didn’t play can’t offer any ways to improve their own game.
            2. Asking players to critique the performance of their teammates is a massively flawed concept that is guaranteed to create division.
            3. If there are team issues the correct forum is a team meeting, if you can’t get honesty there then you have created a poor culture.
            4. If there are individual problems the correct forum for them is a one on one meeting.
            5. Mid-tour is not the time for a performance review. End of project, end of tour, not between two tests.
            6. If the coach doesn’t know what is wrong or how to improve it he should resign, not ask the players to do his job for him.

            You are assuming that Arthur is too lenient. He simply doesn’t have a clue. The nature of his split from the SA players, the culture he left behind at WA. Arthur is a spectacularly poor man manager, he makes Robbie Deans seem inspired.

            This sort of cultural misread is exactly why Australians should coach our national teams.

            • March 12th 2013 @ 7:57am
              Renegade said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:57am | ! Report

              How can the players that didn’t play not offer ways to improve…..it’s a team environment.

              Are you telling me that they’ve been locked in a hotel room and have no idea what’s going on this entire time.

              No matter how ridiculous the task, it was a 5 minute job and these guys couldn’t do it.
              I have been one of Watson’s biggest fans and as the vice-captain this is wrong.

              I still have a feeling that we haven’t heard the full story in regards to this situation but if we have then the 4 players have only them selves to blame.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:12am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:12am | ! Report

                It is NOT a 5-minute job.
                IF 1 – bat better, 2 – bowl better, 3 – field better was an acceptable response no-one would have been suspended for not doing it. That is a clearly apathetic response that shows you don’t care about the task – it is just as bad as doing nothing.
                Spending time thinking up ways for other players to improve their performance is not how professional sportsmen should be helping their team.

                This fiasco has massively increased my respect for Watson, he’s left the team. Clarke on the other hand has just lost all the respect the last two years of performances have earned him. Arthur, I never had any respect for.
                I imagine quite a few Australian team members are feeling the same way.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:27am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:27am | ! Report

                QUOTE:
                Arthur had asked each member of the squad to make a presentation to him, either in person or in written form, about how the team could fight their way back into the series.
                “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,” Clarke said.

                That is not a five-minute job and for Johnson and Khawaja who hadn’t played at all there was nothing to say.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:52am
                Matt F said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

                They have played cricket before Kev. If they couldn’t find a way from the current series then they could have looked at their game in general. Alternatively they could have said that they weren’t sure because they hadn’t played yet in the series. At least they would have completed the exercise

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:58am
                Adam said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

                Red Kev

                they were asked to present “about how the team could fight their way back into the series”. Note the word “team”.
                You say Johnson and Khawaja couldn’t because they weren’t in the team…! Well then i ask you to click on the tab at the top of this page which says “cricket” this will open a web page where several hundred people have put forward their ideas (right or wrong) as to how Australia could improve. You don’t have to have been standing at mid-on for the last fortnight to have an opinion!

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:06am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:06am | ! Report

                And have Arthur and Clarke listened to any of the well informed ideas and criticisms that been put forward under the “cricket” tab? No.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:46am
                Renegade said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:46am | ! Report

                It is a 5 minute job.

                I heard Usman Khawaja’s manager on radio this morning say that this has been coming for the best part of 5 years. There has been a rift between the players and that some of the players don’t talk and just sit in there hotel rooms playing computer games.

                If Watson, Khawaja, Johnson and Pattinson couldn’t turn off the Playstation 3 for 5 minutes to do this…..then so be it.

                Khawaja’s manager also said that he feels for Usman however this needed to happen as cricket needs to grow up.

                I certainly take Michael Clarke’s word over any of these 4 and i am one of Watson’s biggest fans however there is no doubting that he has a selfish character and it’s all bout self.

                I have no sympathy for any of the players involved in this….if they had issues with the task they should have aired them immediately after the task was given.

              • Roar Guru

                March 12th 2013 @ 10:47am
                JGK said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                If it was a 5 miinute job, what was the point of it. The problems of the team aren’t going to be fixed in 5 minutes.

                If it was a longer, more substantial job then inevitably the likes of UK and Johnson would probably have to have included some sort of criticism of the leadership of the team ie telling the people that they are presenting to that they don’t know what they are doing.

                How do you think that would have gone down?

              • March 12th 2013 @ 10:52am
                Stephen said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

                Johnson and KHawaja didn’t even play, what the hec is going on. Should it not be the coach’s job to tell players how they can improve? Presentations are for the corporate boardroom. Play more cricket at the nets for God’s sake! Just proves that warnie was right about the Muppets and puppets

              • March 12th 2013 @ 11:59am
                Ken Hambling said | March 12th 2013 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                What utter rubbish, Clarke may be a very good cricketer but his personality clashes are killing us, Watson wouldn’t just leave unless something was seriously wrong. Dropping the ONLY bowler Australia has for not filling out some ridiculously idiotic form?! Khawaja was finally going to get his deservd chance and now again has to wait. Sheer madness, we will lose by an innings again and it will be deserved, maybe it’s time a rebel Australian team came up. They might not have Clarke but they’ll have all the wonderful cricketers who miss out on Test selection due to not being a bunch of bum kissing yes men. Far fetched and couldn’t happen but gee it would be nice.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 1:36pm
                Praveen said | March 12th 2013 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

                Koala khawaja will come back strong for the 4th test, rest assure he won’t miss his homework again, but all this is all too much for something so small

              • March 12th 2013 @ 7:46pm
                Ken Hambling said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:46pm | ! Report

                Red Kev you raise some very good points, players should not have to offer ways to improve, that’s the coach’s job, and yes have a team meeting to discuss issues not through this means. And the coach should know how to improve things, Arthur has lost many fans including myself here and its a shame our 2 best young players in Usman and James have been caught up in this.

            • March 12th 2013 @ 8:09am
              eagleJack said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

              Critiquing your teammates is one of those tough propositions players face in times of crisis (and being 2-0 down is such a time). It is something that needs to be done.

              Of course players who have not played can put forward how they can make a difference to the team. It happens in all walks of life. How can you better serve this company than our current staff?

              It seems a very simple exercise to follow. Id assume there have been plenty of team meetings where such matters have been raised. This would have simply been a time to reflect on what was said and jot down your thought. 3 lines. Happens in all sports. Rugby players are expected to attend one on one video sessions with notes prepared. It isn’t seen as “homework”. It is seen as how can you improve and what you want to get out of being in this team environment.

              Making it to the top is not easy. And never should be. But if the players truly believed what they were asked to do was stupid I am certain they would have been allowed to air their grievances. And Arthur would have respected this. Doing nothing was simply lazy and a sign you really have no affection for the baggy green.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:18am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:18am | ! Report

                Performance reviews should never be carried out during a project or tour. There are too many other pressures, people are too close to the performances and you never get honest feedback because you can’t tell people you need to work with what you really think.
                I have lead and been involved in many project reviews and it is simple fact, you can’t get value out of this sort of exercise while work is still going on.
                I think the notion that Arthur has any idea of the pride required for a baggygreen is offensive.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:50am
                Duncan Gering said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:50am | ! Report

                Watson has never previously been shy of criticizing his team mates (Hughes and Cowan) so one wonders how he could have missed the trick this time.
                Five minutes may be a little brief but I ask the question, how hard is it for Watson to say I’ll try to play with softer hands, with the bat in front of the pads, and will take smaller steps instead of lunging onto the front foot. I admit it would be hard for Watson (the epitome of the me player) to find a way for the team to improve so he might have had to think (oh I see the issue now) about it.
                In many ways I think Johnson is the same. Anyone who bowls that loose for that long in tests is clearly not a team player.
                Red Kev is just upset because this seems to be getting to the heart of why Usman isn’t being selected. They think he’s good enough, but he doesn’t play a team game.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:52am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

                As if Mickey Arthur even understands what a team is.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:56am
                eagleJack said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

                RK to look at a Test series as one “project” is very naive. They are a number of different “projects” back to back.

                Or should you simply go into a series with one game plan and once down 2-0 say “sorry we can’t review our strategy as this can’t be done mid project”? Of course not.

                And of course these guys can tell each other what they really think of them. It’s part and parcel of being honest with your teammates and moving forward as a team. They are around each other close to 365 days per year. If these guys can’t be open to each other then nobody can be.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 8:59am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:59am | ! Report

                I guess you’ve never worked in projects before – they are all back to back.
                You don’t do reviews at worker level mid project because they have to actually do the work. Good management keeps that crap out of the workers’ face, poor managers make their subordinates do their work for them.
                Guess which Mickey Arthur is.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:10am
                eagleJack said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:10am | ! Report

                We are talking about the Australian cricket team. Not some pleb project you have been a part of.

                Reviews are held constantly after every test match. NRL sides, Super Rugby sides conduct reviews constantly reassessing strategies.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:17am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

                You’re right, my budget is much larger than the poxy few millions spent on cricket in Australia.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:28am
                Chivas said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

                Actually RK you do, do reviews mid-project. And to draw conclusions about management style based on your narrow view is naive.

                But the point which seems to be more relevant is if writing emails regarding improvement were established part of the team there would be no issues with it. It appears to be more knee jerk and has negative connotations which individuals Baulk at.

                When reviews were first introduced, employees reacted negatively and unenthusiastically. I used it to praise my team and identify opportunities for them to learn and grow more. I don’t get this from what these two did. It seems petulant and aggressive. Individuals make up a team.

                The bigger problem now for coach and captain is how they rebuild now they have sacked these players. If they are hoping for them to come back on bended knee they may be waiting a bit. If they don’t can Clarke and Arthur’s pride take the hit. If Clarke and Atthur wear it how much credibility and respect will they lose along the way.

                It’s looking like a standoff and another hole in an already leaky boat.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:32am
                jameswm said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:32am | ! Report

                Kev 2-0 down and 2 to go. Time for a review to help imrpove things for the 3rd test. End of tour is too late.

                I can see the logic in that.

                I have no problems with players being asked to look in the mirror.

                And if Johnson and Khawaja haven’t ben playing and can’t work out how the task applies to them, then FFS ask. They’re worse than my 13yo kid, too shy to ask teachers questions when he doesn’t understand.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 10:47am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                The selectors need the mirror and the review, not the players.

            • Roar Guru

              March 12th 2013 @ 9:40am
              The Bush said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:40am | ! Report

              Stop being so sensible and logical…

            • March 12th 2013 @ 10:14am
              buddha9 said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              totally agree with Red Kev on this — good method when done face to face in a dressing room everyone there and being honest –used to work for chelsea all the time — but what exactly are these 4 blokes meant to say — I didn’t perform because i wasn’t picked? I thought I carried the drinks pretty good? Maybe I could have dashed out with them spare gloves a bit quicker? I wished i’d played down the right line?

              A fast bowler bowls he’s not a thinker he’s probably not read a book in his life and he’s not meant too – he’s a fast bowler — he’ll have smarts as a bowler, if he’s smart, but not the writing sort.

              All this leading to what — phil hughes still there, no Usman of course – and steve smith who’s even less of a test batsman if thats possible than phil hughes

              How many test runs did mickey arthur score again? remind me.

              • Columnist

                March 12th 2013 @ 10:24am
                Ryan O'Connell said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                Who’s to say that all the player’s notes wouldn’t be used in the next team meeting?

              • March 12th 2013 @ 10:54am
                Stephen said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

                Yes i agree with Red Kev, this decision is absurd. We are now world crickets joke. Since Pat Howard has come on board the team has become completely dysfunctional. He is the High Performance Manager and has presided over a decline in performance. He has got to go.

          • March 12th 2013 @ 8:32pm
            TK said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

            Idea 1 – Grab captain by the throat and push him against the wall
            Idea 2 – Tell him what you think of him
            Idea 3 – Finish up representative cricket and watch the national side struggle without you all because of a personality clash.

        • Roar Guru

          March 12th 2013 @ 6:48am
          biltongbek said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:48am | ! Report

          Duplicate

          • March 12th 2013 @ 10:28am
            Shaun said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:28am | ! Report

            RK…that’s right never change a losing strategy, why would one want to win anyway? That’s probably whats upset you…they might turn things around and start winning, with a little introspect…gosh, is it possible?
            Think about a rugby match…you don’t think teams change their approach at half time when things aren’t working with plan A or even B.

            People like you are the reason that sports stars are so overindulged, because you DON’T make them accountable for their actions.

            • March 12th 2013 @ 10:46am
              Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

              Sure change from plan A to plan B (assuming you have a plan B – yes I’m looking at you Wallaby coach). What you don’t do is sit the players down and ask them to write you a homework assignment on how to improve the team performance.
              It isn’t uncommon for words to the effect of “I want you to think about your own game and how you can improve that by 5% personally so we get a little bit extra out of everyone.” It is disgraceful for the coach or captain to ask the players to write that down and submit it. It shows a basic lack of trust, not to mention defeats the point of the exercise as players are not going to expose their inner fears and self-perceived weaknesses to two guys who are on the selection panel.

              The people that need the mirror and the performance review and to change their approach are the selectors. Pattinson, Johnson and Khawaja have done absolutely nothing wrong in the first two tests.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 11:06am
                Jay said | March 12th 2013 @ 11:06am | ! Report

                How do you know they’ve done nothing wrong?

                They may have been an absoltue toxic influence in the change rooms, at training or even at the hotel. I can think of quite a few ways a ‘non-playing’ team member could disrupt the team in a very negative way.

                We do not have the full story. I doubt very highly this is an isolated event and the comment about this being the ‘line in the sand moment’ is the reality. The coach, captain and manager have probably had enough of trying to treat these ‘professional’ players with the freedom that a true professional deserves and has decided that they need to use the stick to bring them back into line, as opposed to the excess of carrots that were handed out.

                An example for you in your own world RK. Let’s say you have two projects back to back and the first project comes in 5 million dollars and 5 months over budget. You have been constantly reviewing the work loads and wish to create a culture shift within the project team. What do you do? A good manager, imo, seeks the opinion and the information from those at the coal face, they then formulate a plan of action, implement and go kick some backside. Without information, they can’t go forward. These are professionals… they get paid a fortune and outside of training and practice (maybe an average of 20hrs per week over the course of a year), what do they do?

              • March 12th 2013 @ 7:44pm
                Ken Hambling said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

                Yes the players should not be apologising, its Arhtur and Howard that need to explain themselves not the players. Interesting to hear Pattinson and Khawaja give their aplogies, don’t think they need to but they have to tow the Arthur line to keep their spots in the team. Both are 2 of our best young players and we need them back in the 4th test(would be great if selectors can stop finding excuses to give Khawaja a go). What former players and fans don’t understand James is rotation policies, mystery selections, over-reacting, the coach, the Captain being a selector and ex-rugby players running a game they know nothing about. Ex-players and fans also don’t understand bizarre punishments and exorbitant charges at a live game for families. Even during the dark days of the 80s things were not this strange. Part of the blame is the players, part of it is the coach and culture, part of it the administrators and part of it rests with Clarke. Clarke, despite two golden seasons from eight in the baggy green, has now been involved in a number of conflicts with players – Symonds, Katich, Hussey and now Watson. That’s called a pattern. He dumped Lyon for two pie chuckers who have poor records beyond 20/20 and he keeps picking Hughes and Cowan over Khawaja. Clarke and the Captaincy may agree but the guy has lost the ear of the players.

      • March 12th 2013 @ 10:59am
        Rob for Brumby Country said | March 12th 2013 @ 10:59am | ! Report

        If you want to test commitment, then you require the players to conform to uncomfortable (but useful) measures like an early team curfew, or longer and more rigorous training hours.

        You don’t hand out useless homework assignments requiring players to provide guidance and direction to team management. It’s supposed to work the other way around. If that’s the sort of thing you want to do, then what you’re really testing is the tolerance of players for pointless menial work that does not enhance the team performance and in fact actively encourages the team to play the blame game.

        If Arthur really has such little direction and authority that this kind of surveying is what the Australian team has been reduced to, he should be sacked immediately.

        • Columnist

          March 12th 2013 @ 1:27pm
          Ryan O'Connell said | March 12th 2013 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

          How is discussing how the team can improve a useless assignment?

          • Roar Guru

            March 12th 2013 @ 2:06pm
            Rob na Champassak said | March 12th 2013 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

            It’s useless if it takes up too much time. A team meeting should be sufficient for those kinds of discussions. Otherwise you’re just taking up time that could be spent on applying yourself to the relevant training.

            More detail may have been desirable, but for what reason should this have been the players’ assignment? Shouldn’t the coach be identifying the problems in the team and then just telling the players how they need to improve? That’s how it seems to work for, oh, literally every other sporting organisation that I have ever heard of…

            • Columnist

              March 12th 2013 @ 3:41pm
              Ryan O'Connell said | March 12th 2013 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

              I’m sure the coach did identify problems and issues with the team, but a great team gets input from everyone in the group. Steve Waugh often even had the support staff address the teams with thoughts. The notion that somehow Arthur was outsourcing his job is ridiculous. What he was trying to do was create accountability and shared responsibility.

              However, it shouldn’t have been mandatory, that’s just silly. And therefore, it definitely shouldn’t have been punishable.

              BUT. . .

              The players should have wanted to discuss ways the team could improve as well.

              Like I said, no one comes out of this looking good.

    • March 12th 2013 @ 6:22am
      Indian cricket fan said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:22am | ! Report

      I would separate Aussie cricket management from the players. I posted the following for another story:
      1. Guys like Micky & pup are shrewd (even crooked) operators who are quick to cover their behinds and deflect blame when the going gets tough. Obviously Micky sees his job on the line and in a manner typically seen in the corporte world, by ordering for presentations he wants to show he’s tough and in control. These presentations serve no other purpose.
      2. Guys like Watson, Pattinson & Johnson are true sportsmen with a genuine love for the game and good guys within. It seems like it’s always the good guys that get hurt. They did the right thing by rejecting such a stupid directive challenging their commitment to the game. They are not schoolboys and a reassuring pat on the back would have been far more effective.
      3. How this incident is settled will have a strong bearing on the future of Australian cricket for a while. If management prevails over the players it will go further in breeding nepotism and sub-par cricketers.

      • Columnist

        March 12th 2013 @ 6:44am
        Geoff Parkes said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:44am | ! Report

        ICF, assuming you’re not satirising, suggest you’re way off the mark here. I’ve got no doubt that Mickey Arthur is genuine. We can all argue all we like about his methods and what is a gross overreaction, but he wants to win for Australia, not cover his backside.

        All teams need leadership and direction, and yes this should come from players. But they also need rules and boundaries to work within, and this comes from management. Letting the monkeys run the zoo is not the way to go.
        I don’t believe this is a “player power” issue as such, after all most of the players complied. But there is surely something very wrong in the camp that this could not have been handled more appropriately.

        • March 12th 2013 @ 7:28am
          Harry said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:28am | ! Report

          Allanthus you are being very naive if you think winning for Australia is Mickey Arthur’s number one priority.
          His number one priority would be keeping Mickey Arthur in the high paying role of coach of the Australian cricket team, for as long as possible or as long as he wishes. Of course the best way to do that is to win matches, but if you want to dip into the bag of corporate tricks, then you surely will.
          I’m sure he’s extremely mindful of the old quote “There’s two types of coaches. Ones who have been sacked, and ones who haven’t yet.”

      • March 12th 2013 @ 7:23am
        Harry said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:23am | ! Report

        It pains me to admit an Indian Cricket fan is right in this matter, but you are spot on on all 3 points. These sort of stunts are common in the corporate world, invariably initiated by some ‘manager’ who has little to zero experience or expertise of what things are like “at the coalface”.
        To see it in professional sport is depressing, and to see it in the Australian test cricket team profoundly so.
        An awful moment – the last time things got so humiliating was kim Hughes resigning the captaincy in tears in 1983 or 84. These days we see crying sportsman all the time. God help us if failure to complete powerpoint becomes an accepted reason for getting rid of players in 2043.

        • March 12th 2013 @ 8:43am
          Allanthus said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:43am | ! Report

          You’re forgettting that this has the imprint of the captain on it as well. Who would be rightfully frustrated that his players aren’t stepping up to follow the example he has set.

          Call it misguided or clumsy, and by all means disagree with the way they went about setting the task and the way they overreacted. But it’s a stretch too far to say that this was a stunt designed by Arthur to protect his job. It just is what it is

    • March 12th 2013 @ 6:35am
      David said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:35am | ! Report

      Not convinced we are getting the whole story.
      Clearly most of the players took the task seriously enough.

      We dont know the context
      * Maybe Arthur and Clark made it clear how important it was
      * Maybe there were other linked incidents

      Whilst touring sides are more transparent these days they still cover a lot up

      • Columnist

        March 12th 2013 @ 7:50am
        Elisha Pearce said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        There has to be more to it.
        You couldnt imagine that you REALLY would suspend players for not doing homework.
        Fines? Maybe.
        The Reds just suspended Digby Ioane for making trouble over his pay, saying controvercial things on twitter about refs and bans and finally being involved in a nightclub altercation. Not for missing his homework.

        • March 12th 2013 @ 8:54am
          Matt F said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Comments from Clarke and Arthur suggest that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. It seems standards have been slipping for a while and this is how they’ve decided to correct it. Of course it’s partly their own fault for letting it happen in the first place

          • March 12th 2013 @ 8:57am
            Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:57am | ! Report

            If making presentations is considered an important part of being in the national cricket team then Arthur and Clarke have to go. Standards aren’t slipping, Arthur and Clarke’s grasp on reality is.

            • March 12th 2013 @ 9:06am
              Matt F said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:06am | ! Report

              The presentation may not have been that important. However failure to do such a simple task over 5 days says that the four players really don’t care that much. If they thought it was stupid then they should have spoken to the coach beforehand, not act like 8 year olds

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:13am
                Red Kev said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:13am | ! Report

                Once again – civil disobedience – i.e. doing nothing – has proven to be the most effective form of protest.
                – Raise with Arthur = get a dressing down for questioning authority
                – Submit a joke response (like “pick me”) = get chewed out for not taking it seriously

                Sometimes it just isn’t worth the hassle.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:20am
                Matt F said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:20am | ! Report

                You raise it with him privately. Perhaps after talking with him about it you might be turned around to his point of view. Who knows. Alternatively just do the damn exercise.

                Also, you’re assuming that these players didn’t do it as some sort of protest. It seems just as, if not more, likely that they were too lazy or simply forgot

              • March 12th 2013 @ 9:56am
                Renegade said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:56am | ! Report

                “- Raise with Arthur = get a dressing down for questioning authority”

                Are you just making up you’re own events now?

                Geez kev, c’mon mate. I know you are a passionate fan of australian cricket as am I, but this isn’t right.

                Show me where Arthur has given any of the australian cricketers a dressing down for raising questions.

            • March 12th 2013 @ 7:48pm
              Ken Hambling said | March 12th 2013 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

              Fair to say Arthur has totally stuffed this one up and this will cost hm his job, bring lehman as coach

        • March 12th 2013 @ 9:25am
          Chop said | March 12th 2013 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          Apparently the naughty boys haven’t been filling in their ‘wellness reports’ each morning as well.

          One wrong word in them and you get rotated out, no wonder they’re not being filled in….

    • Roar Guru

      March 12th 2013 @ 6:58am
      Who Needs Melon said | March 12th 2013 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      I grew up watching (at grounds and on TV) and playing cricket but, to be honest, I haven’t watched it in years. No doubt some will say I therefore have no right to an opinion on the sport any more and fair enough, then I’ll continue to leave it to others. But…

      Australian cricket has been going down the gurgler for 10 years. It’s amazing how far we have fallen so quickly when there are so many great ex-players around who surely know something about the game and how to win.

      If something good can come out of this incident then hopefully, surely it will be that it’s the final straw that makes those in denial admit that there are deep, fundamental problems that need to be sorted out. It’s not just this one incident or this particular tour or only certain players. Administrators need to pull their finger out, give themselves an uppercut and put in a plan to reverse the last 10 years.

      • March 12th 2013 @ 8:09am
        doozel said | March 12th 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

        One consistent factor in the last 10 years, James Sutherland. Time to go James. Australian cricket is a joke at the both. I love the sport and it is an embarassment. NRL administrators look good in comparison.

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