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Protocol breach rocks Oz
Four axed for indiscipline, Vice-captain to head home Mohali (PTI): Australia's hapless tour of India took an extraordinary turn on Monday with a...
Four axed for indiscipline, Vice-captain to head home Mohali (PTI): Australia's hapless tour of India took an extraordinary turn on Monday with a miffed vice-captain Shane Watson leaving for home hours after being sensationally dropped from the team for the third Test along with three other key players, raising intense speculation of a revolt within the squad. Watson and three of his colleagues - pacemen James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson, and batsman Usman Khawaja - were shockingly axed from the team for the third Test beginning here Thursday for ignoring a team management order. The four players were dropped for failing to make a presentation on how to improve their personal as well as the team's performance after the innings and 135 runs defeat in the second Test in Hyderabad. In a day of dramatic developments, Watson checked out of the team hotel while the rest of the squad trained and left for Sydney, raising speculation that all was not well within the squad following the unprecedented sacking of the four players. However, Cricket Australia denied that Watson's departure was a result of the decision and said he was heading home to be with his pregnant wife Lee Furlong, who is expecting the couple's first child. The baby was due shortly after the end of the Indian tour and Watson had already been granted leave to fly home early if required. A Cricket Australia spokesman said that the process had been "accelerated" due to a change at home. It was, however, not known whether Watson would return before the fourth Test, which starts in Delhi on March 22. "He has not left in a huff, his wife is expecting. And that is why he has left for Australia to be by her side. The two things (returning to Australia and being dropped from the team) should not be linked," Australian team's media manager Matt Cenin said. Earlier, Australia's coach Mickey Arthur dropped a bombshell when he announced that the four players would not be considered for selection for the third Test. "That's a line-in-the-sand moment. We have given these guys absolute clarity," Arthur said while making the announcement at a press conference here. The stunning turn of events leaves Australia, trailing 0-2 in the series, with just 13 players to choose from for the third Test. "After Hyderabad the whole team was really hurting, we were discussing ways of getting back into the series," Arthur said. "We were particularly aware of where we were as a team and how we were going to get back. I asked the players at the end of the game to give me an individual presentation. "I wanted three points from each of them technically, mentally and team as to how we were going to get back over the next couple of games, how we were going to get ourselves back into the series," he added. Arthur said the dropped players failed to meet the deadline set for making the presentation and it was important to maintain team discipline by punishing them. "Unfortunately four players didn't comply with that. We pride ourselves on attitude. We have given the players a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right," Arthur said. "We believe that those behaviours with what we want to do with this team, how we want to take this team to be the best in the world, teams that are the best in the world have best attitudes and best behaviour patterns and a good, hard, ruthless culture. "I believe those four players unfortunately did not meet my requirements so those four are not available for selection for this Test match," he added. Arthur said to become world-beaters, the Aussies will have to fall in line when it comes to discipline.