Michael Clarke backs sacking of four, including deputy

AUSTRALIAN Cricket captain Michael Clarke has backed the controversial decision to suspend four players, including his deputy Shane Watson, saying it is not the first time player behaviour has been a problem.

Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson have all been stood down after not presenting coach Mickey Arthur with a presentation of how to improve ahead of the Mohali Test, as requested.

"I don't think it is too extreme at all," Clarke says on the Australian Cricket website this morning.

"I think the reality is after having a couple of days of as a team we were asked to do one thing by the coach in regards to preparation leading up to our first training day.

"Four of the players did not adhere to what was required and that is unacceptable if you want to be a part of the Australian Cricket Team."

Clarke said it was not the first involving the cultures and behaviours of the team.

"It's a lot bigger than that. There have been a number of things on this tour that have not been up to the standard that we would have liked as the Australian Cricket Team, hence our performance.

"To me not only is it  disrespecting the team, not handing this information in, but it's disrespecting the head coach and that is unacceptable at any level let alone when you are representing Australia.

"You have to have your standards and we have set our standards. There have been a few issues on this tour where we haven't been hitting the mark and this is one of those that is unacceptable.

"I think the one thing I want the players and the public to understand back home is to represent Australia is a huge honour.

"We owe the game a hell of a lot every time we walk out onto the field, not the other way around.

"The game owes us nothing so if you're not going to adhere to the standards of the Australian Cricket Team.

"If you're not going to do everything in your power to help the team, to help yourself have success especially when you are two-nil down in the series then unfortunately there are consequences."

Fairfax was reporting this morning that Shane Watson, who has left the tour to be home with his heavily pregnant wife, is now contemplating quitting Test cricket.

"Any time you're suspended for a Test match unless you do something unbelievably wrong, and obviously everyone knows what those rules are . . . I think it is very harsh," Watson said.

"At this point in time I'm at a stage where I'm sort of weighing up my future...

"I'm going to have to sit down and talk that through with my family.

"There are lot more important things in life - I certainly do love playing cricket and that passion is still there and I feel like I'm in the prime years of my cricket career.

"But from a holistic perspective I've got to sit down with my family and decide which directions they are."

Watson said he had been about to tell captain Michael Clarke on Monday that he would have to miss the fourth Test in Delhi next week to be home for the birth of his first child.



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