Mohali: Australian captain Michael Clarke Monday defended the team management's decision to suspend four players including vice-captain Shane Watson for the third Test stating that it's "not just about one incident" but also about "off-field stuff" which has been unacceptable.
"I want the public and the media to understand. Don't get me wrong, it's not just about one incident. Firstly, on this tour, our performances have been unacceptable and there has been some stuff off the field that has been unacceptable for the standards of an Australian cricket team," Clarke was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
"I know it is a tough day, a really tough day and it's a tough decision. But at the end of the day, if people are not hitting those standards there are going to be consequences," Clarke said.
The veteran of 91 Tests felt that there was nothing wrong in the coach asking them to do a specific task as players got a couple of days to regroup. "We were asked to do one thing from the head coach. It was giving information back to the head coach about not only improving your game - what you've learnt from the first two Test matches - but also how can you help this team turn things around and have success.
"It was a very simple task. Yes, it took a lot of thinking because you had to look at your game and where you thought you could improve, what you had learnt and what you could do to help this team level this series."
The skipper said that the four players, who didn't do their homework, showed a lack of respect for the head coach. "In my opinion, for the four players to not do it, not only does it let the team down, it also shows a lack of respect for the head coach and in the Australian cricket team that is unacceptable", he pointed out.
For Clarke, accepting mediocrity is simply out of the question. "We can't accept mediocrity here. This is the Australian cricket team. Maybe I am biased [but] there is a big difference between this team and other cricket teams. If you play for Australia, there is a lot that comes with that and standards, discipline, culture that is all a big part of what we are talking about here."
Do you also think that there is more to this episode than meets the eye?