Cricket: Arthur reveals test team culture problem

Australian coach Mickey Arthur says "back-chat" and "giving attitude" had become an unacceptable part of the Test team culture. Photo / Getty Images.
Australian coach Mickey Arthur says "back-chat" and "giving attitude" had become an unacceptable part of the Test team culture. Photo / Getty Images.

Australian coach Mickey Arthur says "back-chat" and "giving attitude" had become an unacceptable part of the Test team culture, leading to his decision to stand down four players for the fourth Test in Mohali.

Arthur has outlined in his latest blog on the Cricket Australia website the other indiscretions which led to his unprecedented decision to axe Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja for not submitting requested feedback after Australia's humiliating defeat in the second Test.

High performance manager Pat Howard refused to divulge what the other behavioural issues were when he addressed the media on Tuesday.

Arthur hasn't named names, but offered detail on the culture problems in his blog.

"Being late for a meeting, high skinfolds, wearing the wrong attire, back-chat or giving attitude are just some examples of these behavioural issues that have been addressed discretely but continue to happen," Arthur wrote.

"If we're deadly serious about getting back to number one in the world, all players need to raise the bar and lift their game.

"If not, we must be content at being number three or four or five in world cricket because we won't get any better. The players won't learn and we'll continue a vicious cycle.

"Let's be absolutely clear.

"The decision to suspend Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja for not adhering to a team request is the defining moment, but it has been a culmination of lots of small minor indiscretions that have built up to now."

It's not clear whether Watson, Pattinson, Johnson and Khawaja are responsible for any of these other breaches revealed by Arthur.

However, Howard said on Tuesday that some of the four had previously slipped up, while others had a clean sheet.

Arthur, the former coach of South Africa, said the past two days have been the toughest of his career.

"The last week and a half since the end of the Hyderabad Test has been the toughest in my 11 years coaching," he said.

"The media reaction to this decision was like none I've seen in my coaching career and has certainly divided opinion.

"It is a strong message to everyone in Australian cricket that if you want to play for the Australian cricket team, then we demand excellence. Corner-cutting, taking short-cuts or arriving with a bad attitude will no longer be tolerated.

"We want to be the Spanish football team, Manchester United or McLaren of world cricket.

"The absolute pinnacle where high standards are not expected, they are second nature.

"Australian cricket fans deserve nothing less."

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