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The Australian cricket conundrum: A silly decision

Avneesh Kumar
851   //    12 Mar 2013, 13:24 IST
Shane Watson and James Pattinson - two of Australia's key players have been sacked

Shane Watson and James Pattinson – two of Australia’s key players have been sacked

When the entire cricket fraternity was expecting a good show from the Australian team in the third Test at Mohali, a crisis hit them, albeit a self-made one. The coach, Mickey Arthur, assigned the touring players with the task of a personal assessment. They were asked to evaluate the team’s culture and environment. The players were also supposed to analyse the current situation and present some ideas on the improvements needed before the third Test, starting on Thursday at Mohali. Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja failed to submit the response which led to their ouster from the third Test. Doesn’t the idea of sacking a player from the team for not answering a few questions seem silly? Well, it is.

Now this Australian team, which is already struggling to put a right foot in this series, will play in Mohali without these four players – two of whom, Watson and Pattinson, would certainly have been key players. Watson was not performing in the series so far, but we all know he is capable of turning the tide. Pattinson was a key player for the team in both the matches. Despite not getting any kind of help from the pitch, he hurled the bowl in the right areas and created some serious problems for the Indian batsmen. Ponder over it. You drop a pacer who had taken eight wickets in the previous match bowling in conditions that are most unsuitable to fast bowling, and the reason you provide is that he couldn’t produce three ideas of beating India. This is just ludicrous. The terrible judgement of sacking both of them will only hurt the Australians.

The idea that players write a report on why the team failed or what are the weak points of the team is sheer absurdity. What the coach himself was doing? It is certainly his job to pen down a report and prepare a strategy for upcoming matches. Players are in the team to play cricket, not to write a paper on what the team lacked. This appears to be an obvious instance of delegating one’s own job to someone else. Arthur is not only responsible of escaping his own job, he is also culpable of creating this drama – one that popped up from nowhere. An issue that could have been solved comfortably in a team meeting became the reason of sacking four players from the team. This decision has also come at a time when the selectors and the coach were being targeted by the Australian cricket fans for the poor show of the team. Finally, a drastic but puerile measure has been taken, and this will have some severe ramifications on Australian cricket. Arthur must be blamed for dropping this bombshell on the future of Australian cricket. A shattered Watson has already left India stating that the decision was too harsh. And there are rumours floating that he might say good bye to Test cricket.

And does the task given to cricketers not seem like a homework we used to get in school? Oh yes, the punishment is also the same – you have failed to do the homework, you won’t go out and play. Mr. Arthur, don’t behave like a didactic teacher.

Arthur’s advice is apparent for the budding cricketers — if you wish to play cricket, take a writing course; this will probably save your position in the team.

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