Cricket: Rival captains give Aussies a break

By David Leggat

Australian all-rounder Shane Watson was one of the four players suspended along with James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson. Photo / Getty Images
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson was one of the four players suspended along with James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson. Photo / Getty Images

After years of having Australian teams ride roughshod over them, you might have thought the leaders of England and New Zealand would have relished the chance to take a potshot at the troubled Australian squad in India.

Not so.

As Cricket Australia tries to sort out an unholy mess among its embattled squad in India, as tempting as it may have been to poke the borax at their rivals across the Tasman, both Alastair Cook and Brendon McCullum opted to let a half tracker pass by outside their off stump today.

Four Australian players have been dropped for the third test starting in Mohali today and one, vice captain Shane Watson, has headed home amid claims of ill-discipline off the field.

The most recent example cited is the out-of-favour quartet of Watson, Usman Khawaja, James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson failing to fulfill a request to assess their own performances following the second test loss in Hyderabad.

Cook, however, eschewed the chance to put the slipper in.

''It's very hard for me to comment on something which I'm not a part of," Cook said today.

''You do have an interest in it, of course you do, you're interested in cricket. But the main focus of course for us is starting tomorrow," he added, referring to the second test against New Zealand in Wellington.

His counterpart McCullum was similarly straight-bat in his response.

''I haven't spent a great deal of time looking at the India-Australia series," McCullum
said.

''My focus is on this series. It's hard to pass comment on a different environment when you haven't been involved. Let's wait and see what unfolds there."

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