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Mickey and Pup throw a well deserved elbow

Cam Larkin Roar Guru

By Cam Larkin, Cam Larkin is a Roar Guru

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    I spent time in the Australian Defence Force and one factor was continually drilled into each member: everyone should be prepared to take over command if required to.

    Secondly, after each exercise, conduct an After Action Review (AAR).

    These two essential elements were failed by James Pattison, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and Australian vice-captain Shane Watson.

    So I strongly disagree with The Roar expert Joe Karsay’s opinion that the Test teams “culture was dealt a significant blow this week by Michael Clarke and Mickey Arthur”.

    Doesn’t the action the captain and coach took strengthen the culture? Or a better question, what is the current teams culture? According to coach Arthur, the team has grown comfortable with a “back-chat” and “giving attitude” culture.

    Now I’ll be honest, cricket is far from my favourite sport however this is an issue of leadership and attitude, and less of the bat and ball

    What’s disappointing was Watson’s reaction within the awaiting salivating media.

    “I think it’s extremely harsh to be able to be suspended from a Test match for your country, you know, in any circumstance, whether we’re two nil down or whether we’re going very well…I’ve got different opinions to the leadership group. I obviously expressed my extreme disappointment with the punishment.”

    This from the man who would lead the national side if Clarke was to go down injured.

    The Australian cricket team needed a dramatic shake up and that is exactly what happened. Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Russell was advised by former coach Red Auerbach to throw an elbow in a nationally televised game to send a message to his adversaries who continually fouled the big man rather than being dominated offensively.

    In football (pick any code), it would be the coach storming into the rooms at half-time, flipping a table and going on a tirade – only once however. It’s a statement.

    This was Arthur’s message that things need and must change. There is more to winning than simply talent.

    If Watson was let off the hook here and kept in the team for the remaining matches, what message would that send to the entire team, particularly the younger players? Arthur has an inkling suspicion.

    “Being late for a meeting, high skin folds, wearing the wrong attire, back chat or giving attitude are just some examples of these behavioural issues that have been addressed discretely but continue to happen. If we’re deadly serious about getting back to number one in the world, all players need to raise the bar and lift their game.”

    “If not, we must be content at being number three or four or five in world cricket because we won’t get any better. The players won’t learn and we’ll continue a vicious cycle.”

    Professionalism is key. If any player is not up to or open to improving, upholding the strive for excellence, then they shouldn’t be in and don’t deserve a position within the the national side.

    I tip my hat to Mickey and Pup for standing up when they knew that they would cop it from all sides.

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    The Crowd Says (67)

    • March 14th 2013 @ 8:38am
      Jayden said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      I think this article is the best opinion piece on this topic yet, well done.mate.

      I think the main concern is not their attitude (with readers/viewers) but that they were an integral part of the team, or had been campaigned to be so. (with exception to Johnson)

      I’m not sure if the punishment was ‘right’ per se bit in the circumstances it was probably the only one that would send a string enough message through the team

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2013 @ 8:42am
        Cam Larkin said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:42am | ! Report

        Cheers Jayden for those words.

        It’ll be interesting to see how the team now reacts/comes out and plays – not just the next few matches but the 12 months ahead.

        • March 14th 2013 @ 9:11am
          chris b said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:11am | ! Report

          Yes but the problem with your view is that assumes those in charge are always right. Mate work in any modern corpoate job and you get so many daft, pointless orders and directives that anyone with half a brain must ignore some and argue others.
          The world is being taken over by control freaks, the footy codes have long been semi-fascist states. I’ve always looked on cricket as being a haven for the eccentric, but even this window seems to be closing in the modern age of “professionalism”.
          It pains me to think that so many great players in the past wouldn’t make it today as they don’t dot every bureaucratic I and cross every T.
          Skin fold tests, geez, I could name 10 great bats off the top of my head who would fail every time.
          No wonder playing standards are dropping.

          • Roar Guru

            March 14th 2013 @ 9:35am
            Cam Larkin said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:35am | ! Report

            @ChrisB, I work in the corporate sector and appreciate your point. I also agree with you re skin folds etc however today’s teams/cultures are different from the past. Leadership/management put their stamp on a team and players need to push and do everything to maintain those levels.

            If you let the little factors slide, so will performance.

            • Roar Guru

              March 14th 2013 @ 12:05pm
              Andy_Roo said | March 14th 2013 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

              There may well be many daft and pointless orders given in any organisation and many should be argued against.
              But there is a right way and a wrong way to argue against them and it seems that many within the Australain team are arguing against them in the wrong way.

            • March 15th 2013 @ 11:35am
              kid said | March 15th 2013 @ 11:35am | ! Report

              But what if the things a coach may want you to do will impact on your playing style? for example: If the coaches say you have to do weights sessions that then changes your body shape and suddenly you can’t swing the ball anymore, pretty sure its not the coach thats going to be dropped.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 8:42am
      Red Kev said | March 14th 2013 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      The proof will be in the pudding as they say – this series is gone, but the Ashes results will be telling.
      Personally I don’t think Howard, Inverarity or Arthur can be part of the solution to the problems with cricket in Australia.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 9:36am
      Timmuh said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      Cameron, a well argued piece. I agree with the thrust of it, but not necessarily with the outcome produced in this case. Those in command, if you like, set a task. It was up to each player to follow it, even if the task was of dubious value; and in the circumstance I’m not sure it was so dubious. Its not the military, so players had every right to question the value of the task, but it was assigned and as professionals they therefore had an obligation to do it.

      Failure to complete was not worthy, however of suspension. All suspending the players; particularly Pattinson, the others are no real loss anyway; does is make the task of winning a (probably unwinnable) match that bit harder.
      It punishes those who did the right thing by taking away one of the team’s best weapons. Its not as though failure to produce a few lines of thoughts upset other players preparation for the match.
      Yes, applying a penalty was fair enough. If it is true that it has been part of a pattern of lax behaviour on the tour then it may have been required. But not suspension that hurts the whole group.

      • Roar Guru

        March 14th 2013 @ 9:55am
        Cam Larkin said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        @Timmuh, “All suspending the players; particularly Pattinson, the others are no real loss anyway” – Does this mean that there should be two different standards?

        “It punishes those who did the right thing by taking away one of the team’s best weapons” – it’s a team game and if an individual doesn’t uphold the standards etc, the team as a whole losses out. This isn’t swimming.

        • March 14th 2013 @ 10:06am
          Timmuh said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          No, I didn’t mean a double standard should apply, just that in this case Pattinson is important and his absence hurts the team. If any double standard should apply it is to Watson, who by virtue of his leadership position has a greater responsibility to uphold standards than other players. I highlighted Pattinson because his absence hurts the team more than any of the others, not because he should get more lenient rteatment.

          It is a team game, and the team is hurt more by the unavailability of players than by their failure to produce a few lines of commentary.
          A punishment, whether that be a fine, a bigger requirement on the next task, actually doing the set task but to a higher standard, or whatever, or a combination of those and something else, can be deemed in order. I just believe any such penalty should be one that affects the players in question – not everybody else; the rest of the team, the fans, etc; who now share a penalty despite doing the right thing; and that suspension from a Test match is over the top in and of itself anyway for this type opf indiscretion.

        • Roar Guru

          March 14th 2013 @ 12:02pm
          Rob na Champassak said | March 14th 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

          Cameron, nobody is questioning the need for some sort of disciplinary action to have been taken against the players, the real question mark is whether the action taken was appropriate to the circumstances.

          To use your militaristic analogy, could you ever imagine one third of an active battalion being stood down from service in the middle of an ongoing operation? What if that operation had been going as badly for the soldiers as this tour has been going for our cricketers? Cricket is not as uncompromising as warfare, but there are still objectives that are being placed into jeopardy as a result of these reckless suspensions.

          Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for disciplinary action to be taken. But you don’t conduct your court-martials out in the field.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 10:52am
        jameswm said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        Timmuh it was the last indiscretion of a series. This alone would not have been enough for a suspension.

        • March 14th 2013 @ 11:01am
          Red Kev said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

          No it was the latest example of indiscretions from the squad. It was not the final indiscretion Arthur was willing to put up with from these particular players. Clarke and Arthur have both come out and said the actual players were not even discussed at the meeting where the decision to suspend was made. This alone was enough for the suspension.

          • March 14th 2013 @ 11:36am
            Amith said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            Yes it was the latest example of discretions and as Kev mentioned the actual players were not even mentioned in the meeting, so its important to focus on the entire squad and not just the gang of 4.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 9:37am
      rl said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Cameron, I don’t disagree with the sentiment expressed, but this whole issue has been handled unbelieveably badly.

      With your background, would your leaders have willingly gone into the field knowing that there were unresolved issuses within the unit? What impact does it have on morale within a group if there is an underlying concern amongst the group that some members shouldn’t be there? If a unit is out in the field, and there is a complete breakdown in discipline, that to me would indicate a failure in leadership, no?

      Within the military there is sufficent rigid discipline that these issues might be overcome or set to one side. But I’m sure if the leaders of a group are about to enter a situation where lives are in the balance and they know there are some members of the unit not lifting their weight, there’d be some pretty direct action to head it off. If Invers, Mickey and Pup thought there were some issues, these guys should not have been taken on tour in the first place. Far more appropriate to take strong action back in the barracks, than out in the field I reckon.

    • Roar Guru

      March 14th 2013 @ 9:54am
      biltongbek said | March 14th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

      I think Cameron has it spot on, if the leadership is shunned by the players one of two things usually happens, the “attitude” will escalate, or you sort it out.

      It is easy to sit on the sideline and criticise without knowing the full story.

    • March 14th 2013 @ 10:23am
      Paul said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      In all honesty, this is cricket.

      One individual bowls the ball, another individual takes a swing at it, and another individual tries to catch it or stop it from rolling away.

      The only time when teamwork comes into play is during fielding.

      Otherwise, it’s individual performance.

      What were they meant to have come up with? Bowl better? Bat better? Catch the ball more? It’s not as if they can say “we can have two midfielders run into space” or “the strikers and midfield can co-ordinate their passing and running so we don’t get flagged for offside”.

      It really smells of scapegoating, as those responsible for overall tactics and field positioning failed dismally and didn’t want to be held to account. Or you could just admit the bleeding obvious – that the opposition are just a lot better on their home turf.

      For heaven’s sake, this is India. Even as an Australian of Indian (Goan) background and having been there several times in the past, I always find a trip there pretty rough and tough to endure. I challenge anyone to go there and NOT find yourself running to the loo twice a day.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 10:27am
        Red Kev said | March 14th 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

        The Australian team’s run-out stats this summer would like to point out that scoring runs by any means other than a boundary requires significant team-work albeit in the form of a partnership rather than 11 people at once.

      • March 14th 2013 @ 11:48am
        Amith said | March 14th 2013 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        Agree 100% Paul

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