Could India or Pakistan mimic Australian discipline?

Published: March 13, 2013
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The only thing these four players were guilty of was not submitting something akin to a half page review of how the team could improve to the coach in the stipulated time frame.

The news of axing of four players – Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James  Pattinson and Usman Khawaja -from the selection for the third Test match in Mohali came as a shock to many judging by the reactions of the former players and media alike. However, Australian cricket is known for its ruthlessness and no nonsense attitude.

At first, it seemed like a harsh punishment. The only thing these four players were guilty of was not submitting something akin to a half page review of how the team could improve to the coach in the stipulated time frame. It may seem all the more surprising as Australia needs all the players it has after two demoralising defeats; one of the four is the vice-captain and was speculated to bat at number three in the coming match, another was to be drafted into the team after poor performances of other batsmen, the third has been their best bowler on the tour and the fourth has a great record on the ground for the match.

Astonishing isn’t it?

If you are looking to win the match and keep the series alive you need these people in the team. This decision has also led Watson to leave the tour and reconsider his future in Tests.

The decision to drop him from the game was incommensurate with the crime, he said. To hell with diplomacy.

Former players minced no words to deplore the move.

Former Australia captain Allan Border stated,

I’m surprised that’s the penalty for something so mundane. It seems like it was on a schoolboy tour or something. It’s an over the top reaction.

Mark Waugh also spoke strongly against the decision,

“I’m stunned. I’ve never heard of this sort of thing before at top level in any sport. When you are losing there are niggling things there but they’re grown men, it’s not schoolboy stuff. It’s not under-6s, this is Test cricket… there would have been a better way.

Other testimonies were just as damning.

But what everyone has missed is the importance of discipline.

When the captain and the senior most player could hand in his so called ‘homework’, so could these four. They are not above the team and should not be treated as special. It may seem that the other transgressions like not turning in the wellness forms every day during the tour have been ignored and these four, who might have been exemplary in other respects, were dealt with harshly.

That may be true but a message had to be sent; harsh punishments. Discipline needed to be restored especially after two defeats of such magnitude. The danger of letting this slip would have the effect of a lax attitude on the remaining squad members.

The authority of the coach (and also that of the captain and manager) would have eroded with every member deeming any exercises that the coach lists as optional. That would have affected the team performance even further.

Yes, cricket is not about ‘PowerPoint’ and ‘report writing’ – it is about on field performances. But, the coach is there to improve those on field performances and take the blame for the lack of them and to do that he needs the authority.

This incident, if taken lightly, had the potential to undermine that authority, a possibility that the Australians have made clear is not acceptable.

A statement has been made.

If you want to have the honour of representing your country, you need to show professionalism. Freeloaders and undisciplined individuals will not be tolerated.

Could this statement be have made in a different way with less severe punishments?

Perhaps.

But, the question that is on my mind is could this have happened in Indian or Pakistani teams?

Read more by Dr Amyn here or follow him on Twitter @amynmalik

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

The author is a PhD student at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who likes to write. He tweets as @amynmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • BlackJack

    I usually like your articles and the analysis is normally spot-on. In this case, however, I am with all those the cricketers and fans around the world who stand flabbergasted at this extreme step. This is like the army shooting its your own soldiers if they fall out of line or pulling your kid out of school for low class participation scores – it is not productive. I don’t deny that the Indian side is not the most disciplined cricket team in the world and there are entrenched political interests which would prevent seniors from being chastised in this manner even if their crime was a more serious one, but sending your best players home for not coming up with a bunch of suggestions is truly ridiculous.Recommend

  • Bhaijan Please

    ‘Could India or Pakistan mimic Australian discipline?’ Bhaijan PleaseRecommend

  • Dhanus Menon

    Why are you people so obsessed with India. Pakistanis do not know how to mind their own business……….Recommend

  • http://theviewspaper.net/ Abhinav Rai

    Ridiculous decision making. It’s a hitjob by Michael Clarke by using Mickey Arthur as his shield. Ever since Clarke has started influencing the Australian team, they are no longer “Invincible Aussies”. Axing international players for not making a 3 slide ppt is as outrageous as not giving someone a job for not spelling Nicaragua right. Recommend

  • antony

    why India ..what do you know about india to bring india in the last line… My view as an indian is Indian players are mega stars with hummers ,BMWs and super luxuries items akin to US basket ball stars and in addition with regional and political backing . So they are in a different league and critizing them needs a seperate article.Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Deen Sheikh

    This punishment is seriously dumb even for Australia’s strict discipline standards….Holy Cow
    Dr Malik please call Clarkie and tell him he is being dumb
    calls to India from.USA are cheap
    Wato can stay out of Test Cricket if he refuses to be additional bowler…all of a sudden he is super fit to bowl in IPL
    Watos gotta goRecommend

  • indian

    again that indian obsession…whats wrong with u people……now u understand y we hang around here???? :PRecommend

  • sensible

    NO don’t agree with writer. The punishment is too harsh. I felt that these guys have been made scapegoats by coach Mickey Arthur. Recommend

  • Milind

    I would go one step above and propose disciplining the cricket boards in our countries (especially our Indian board) as well. That’s where the indiscipline starts with all the corruption, nepotism, regionalism etc.

    In fact the cricket board (BCCI) provides more (off-the-field) entertainment than cricket itself due to these shenanigans… This indiscipline trickles down to the emboldened players on the field and messes everything.Recommend

  • Stu

    @Dhanus Menon:
    You’re on a Pakistani news site and accusing Pakistanis of being obsessed with India.

    You should look how at how many Indians visit ET & other Pakistani news sites.

    ET probably knows about the traffic of Indian readers on this site so they probably decided to cater to that demographic.Recommend

  • vexed

    Why do Pakistanis and Indians have to ‘mimic’ goras to prove thier mettle in matters of sports discipline?
    Hamari taraf hotay toh kaan pakad ke murga ban-nay ko kehtay charon ko. :-PRecommend

  • Stu

    @antony:
    Even Pakistani cricket players have luxury cars and have political support.

    You don’t know much about Pakistan.

    The author is a sports journalist his job is to report about world sports or blog about them, why do Indians always get worked up?

    The author was just talking about the culture in subcontinent where cricket teams lack professionalism.

    Deny it if you want, but it’s the truth. Recommend

  • Ak

    Oh god..most discipline team ive ever seen is pakistan…(wat a joke)..Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    @ Stu

    Indians are very professional.Recommend

  • Gp65

    If the players had not shown up for match practice, I would consider it lack of discipline. If they were found partying late night prior to day of match despite orders against it and this impacted their on field performance, I would consider that indiscipline. This instance does not show the player’s indiscipline as much as the captain’s arrogance.

    Also unclear why you dragged India in this discussion which had nothing to do with it?Recommend

  • abhi

    I don’t think this act is worth following. May be good for corporate world but not good for sports.Recommend

  • Sonia

    For all those who start defending the national turf at the mention of the country’s name and without understanding what is being said, Australia is touring India currently and hence India must be a direct comparison for the tactics or the decisions taken by them. Secondly, the writer had also mentioned Pakistan for he is drawing a comparison to the subcontinental culture and asking if such a decision was possible in this culture.Recommend

  • Farrukh Hanif Awan

    How can you say we are not disciplined.

    IT takes discipline to drop catches after catches and still be the keeper of a team.

    It takes discipline to make sure your average stays below 30 even if you are an opener of a team.

    It takes discipline to keep a No good experience middle order married to a tennis star as a well middle order no good batsman.

    It takes discipline to keep on votching for a player who is past his sell date.

    It takes discipline to learn from your mistakes and still be able to make the same mistake.

    It takes discipline to make sure when you get out, the name Styen is somehow part of the dismissal.

    It takes discipline to make sure you bowl short pitch “halwa” even when you are labelled as the spearhead of the pace attack

    It takes discipline to find only three brothers from the Akmal clan. They might not know how to catch, field or bat but it still takes discipline.

    As far as Indians go, it takes discipline to keep on giving a flamboyant batsman who has lost his edge seriously but still be part of the team.

    It takes discipline to make every new player who takes a catch, bowls a flat delivery, runs amok on TV spots to be made into a millionaire but who fail considerably well when they go abroad.

    It takes discipline to find every known scientific reason behind the reason the maestro got out was not his fault but that of the umpire, the fieldsman, the bowler who bowled the ball or the little dirt underneath his feet shifting slightly to imblance him to be bowled yet again. Recommend