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Watson heads back home to be with his pregnant wife

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Australia v Sri Lanka - Second Test: Day 2

Chandigarh - Sidelined for the third Test, an angry Australian vice-captain Shane Watson left for home Monday to be with his pregnant wife Lee.

An infuriated Watson, whose wife is expecting a baby by the end of the month, walked out of the team hotel after he along with James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson were dumped for a breach of team discipline thus leaving them out of reckoning for the third Test against India starting March 14.

The decision was announced here by coach Mickey Arthur and team manager Gavin Dovey as Australia continued their preparations for the third Test starting here March 14. Australia trail the four-match series 0-2.

All the four cricketers — vice-captain Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson — had a strong chance of featuring among the eleven in the third Test.

Australia are now left with just 12 players to select their team for the third Test. Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is also doubtful and his cover Brad Haddin has already left for India.

Arthur said the players were sidelined from selection because they failed to deliver a presentation, which the management had asked all the players to do following the team’s resounding defeats in the first two Tests in Chennai and Hyderabad.

The players were given five days to submit three points on what they bring in the team either by mail or in person. But the four players failed to meet the deadline.

Arthur said the team management took the harsh decision to maintain high standards in team discipline.

“We pride ourselves on attitude. We did give the players a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right. But we believe that those behaviours are not consistent with what we want to do with this team and how we want to make this team the best in the world again,” Arthur told reporters here.

The South African said the four players didn’t meet the requirements and won’t be available for selection.

“We believe that these four players unfortunately did not meet the requirements and so they are not available for selection for this Test match,” said Arthur, adding that the quartet would be available for the final Test in Delhi.

Arthur said after the defeat in Hyderabad that he had asked the players to give an individual presentation.

“I asked them to give me three points from each of them technically, mentally and team as to how we were going to bounce back in the next couple of games,” Arthur said.

The coach said though the incident may seem very small in isolation, but “this is a line in the sand moment for us”.

“We have given these guys absolute clarity, we have given this team a huge amount of time to buy in with what we want to do for the Australian cricket team. We have given a vision to these guys, we’ve given an expectation that is spelt out,” he said.

Arthur said it was the toughest decision for him and captain Michael Clarke.

“It’s a tough, tough decision. The message that it sends to all involved in Australian cricket is that we are pretty serious about where we want to take this team,” he said.


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