Australia cricket coach Mickey Arthur has conceded that he put his “neck on the line” when four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, were axed for not completing a presentation during the ongoing Test series against India.
Vice-captain Shane Watson, pacers James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson and batsman Usman Khawaja were left out from the third Test in Mohali, which India won by six wickets.
The four were axed for not completing a presentation on improvements needed in the team on time, a move which was called ridiculous by several former players, including Shane Warne.
The 44-year-old Arthur said he believed the decision was correct as team discipline was important.
“I’ve never been one just to sit back and let things drift,” Arthur was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.
“If I’m doing that, I’m not doing my job. I’m empowered to coach this team, to run this team and get this team back to where it needs to be,” he asserted.
Arthur said the presence of senior players was very important to develop team spirit.
“We’ve got to understand where we’re at, at the moment, with a very young group of players that needs to be shown the right way to go. If you’ve got older senior players the team governs itself and then it’s easy just to run and coach,” he explained. “If you’ve got a young team you need to grab the team and really make the players understand what their responsibilities and ownerships are of the side. I would say I’ve put my neck on the line. But I’ve put my neck on the line because I’m really passionate about Australian cricket and I’m very passionate about this team,” he said.
Arthur, the first foreigner to coach Australia, was roped in for a three-year term when he joined as head coach in November 2011.
Deletes twitter account
Meanwhile in another development, Arthur on Tuesday deleted his Twitter account after being continuously ridiculed by fans in the wake of the team’s woeful Test run in India.
“Thanks twitter, has been fun but deleting my account now! Thanks to all the genuine supporters out there,” said Arthur on twitter, a day after Australia lost the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Arthur’s twitter page has several messages from users, lampooning him, and one of them reads, “Hey Mickey Mouse @MickeyArthur do you have enough quicks for 3rd test? Now it’s going to be a seamer so I suggest you play 4 spinners...,”.
“@MickeyArthur How’s the team spirit this morn? Did they all wear the correct uniform? Did Hughes and Warner scrub skippers whites for him?”
The South African’s decision to close his account was also greeted with ridiculing comments.
@adam_pearce13 said “It’s about time you focus on the cricket anyway.” Another, @willderen tweeted to Arthur “You’re an idiot.”, while @KevinWilde described Arthur’s move to delete his account as “weak”.