Australian vice captain Shane Watson and fast bowler James Pattinson are among four players sensationally dumped from calculations for Thursday's third Test against India for a breach of team discipline.
Coach Mickey Arthur and team manager Gavin Dovey made the stunning announcement on Monday afternoon as Australia continued preparations for the third leg of the series, which they trail 2-0.
Arthur said Watson and Pattinson, as well as Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson, had failed to deliver a presentation which management asked all players to complete following the embarrassing innings defeat in Hyderabad last week.
Players were asked to outline three points on what they bring to the team by email or in person, and given five days to complete the task. The four players did not complete the assignment by the given deadline.
Arthur said the shock axings were a move to maintain standards in team culture. "This is a line in the sand," he said.
"We pride ourselves on attitude. We have given the players a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right. We believe that those behaviours are not consistent with what we want to do with this team, how we want to take this team to be the best in the world.
‘‘I believe those four players unfortunately did not meet my requirements so those four players are not available for selection for this Test match.’’
Arthur said the quartet would be available for the final Test in Delhi.
Watson and Pattinson would have been in the XI on Thursday, while Khawaja was also a strong chance of selection to replace the out-of-form Phil Hughes. Mitchell Johnson, who took five wickets at the the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Australia’s last visit here in 2010, was also in the frame for a call-up.
‘‘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,’’ Arthur said.
‘‘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 that is spelt out we’ve given an expectation that is spelt out and although this incident might seem very small in isolation, this is a line in the sand moment for us as a unit in our quest to become the best in the world.
‘‘This has been the toughest decision that myself, manager Gavin Dovey and captain Michael Clarke have ever had to make. It’s a tough, tough decision, but the ramifications for that within out teams structure and 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.’’