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James Pattinson feels sorry for letting his team down

James Pattinson

James Pattinson

Australian pacer James Pattinson has said that he didn’t take his axeing from the Australian team well initially, but later realized that the extreme step was necessary and helped the team move in the right direction. Pattinson, along with three others, were handed a one-match ban due to their lackadaisical attitude when asked to make a report about how they could improve their performances in the following Tests after two shameful defeats against India.

Following this decision by coach Mickey Arthur, Michael Clarke and manager Gavin Dovey, Shane Watson flew home to accompany his pregnant wife straightaway and also contemplated retirement. The other three players however decided to stay on with the team, and are expected to be available for selection for the final Test in Delhi.

Pattinson went on to say on Tuesday: “We had a training session yesterday and we apologised to the team about it. It does hurt, missing a Test match. It’s not only that, you let your team down as well. At the time I was told I was quite upset. At the start I didn’t take it as well as I probably could have. The easy thing for me was to make excuses and say it’s a harsh punishment. But the reality is it’s not – it’s part of playing cricket for Australia.

“You’ve got to do everything right. It wasn’t hard for the other 12 blokes to get it in on time and they took the time out to really reflect and do what’s best for the team whereas we four didn’t. Right now I’m still hurting about it but in the long run I think it’s going to make us a better team.”

Following the two consecutive defeats, Arthur had given all the team members the task of submitting a report on how to improve their performances. He asked them to cite the reasons for the team’s dismal show, giving them a Saturday night deadline. While 12 members were up to the task, the other 4 were not ready with it even on Monday morning, resulting in their axeing.

“It was one of those things where I didn’t put in 100% for the team, at this level you can’t forget. It’s pretty cut throat and personally not good enough. It wasn’t a hard task at all and it was something that was very valuable for the team going forward. It comes down to preparation for a Test, you can prepare in the nets and the batting, bowling and fielding but preparing off the field as well is just as important. It shows a lack of respect to the coach, the captain as well, and the rest of the team,” the lanky pacer said.

“I know if I was in their position, as a team member, I’d be quite disappointed in them for being a bit selfish. People talk about it as a harsh punishment but looking deeply into it you realise probably it’s not. If you want to be part of the Australian cricket team you have to do everything right. It’s not acceptable. I believe it’s the right punishment. Everyone in the group needs to understand that this is the lengths we need to go to to be successful as a team.”

Michael Clarke believed that the stringent punishment was to set an example to the team. He wasn’t satisfied with his team’s unprofessional attitude on the tour.

Ex-cricketers weren’t enamoured by the decision, keeping in mind the already ailing condition of the Aussies. They thought that this decision would only add to the team’s woes. However, Pattinson realized that the ban was needed to inculcate a positive culture in a team full of youngsters.

Pattinson added: “They’re entitled to their opinion and a lot of the players that are saying that were great players and they probably didn’t have to deal with this stuff because they were in a period of time when they were on top of the world. We’re in a different position. We’re trying to build a culture. We’ve got a lot of young guys.

“I think other people are starting to come around a bit more and understand the reasons behind it. It’s not massive things. A lot of people are saying it’s just for not handing something in but it’s more than that. It’s little things like sometimes being late for something. You can give fines for that but that’s only so much. You talk about being late to things, the worst thing is actually being excluded from something. Being excluded from the team, being excluded from playing a Test match. That’s what hurts the most.”

Shane Watson’s will be big shoes to fill in the Mohali Test, and Australia are definitely going to miss the top batsman, even though he was due a big score this series. However, the biggest concern will be the absence of James Pattinson. He is the only bowler who looked to have some penetration on this tour. He has taken 8 wickets with an average of 23.62 so far. Rest of the bowling looked clueless against the dominating Indian batsmen. But the pacer thought it was not about only the Mohali test, it was about building a strong team structure.

He concluded: “Hopefully we’ve got the talent to one day be a great team. We’ve got a huge period with the back-to-back Ashes that are going to be important. I think we must get these little niggling things out of the way now and send a message that come Ashes time we will be ready to go – and united as a group – to perform there, because the Ashes are massive for us and we are striving to get back against the Poms.”

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