New Delhi: Australia coach Mickey Arthur has conceded that he put his "neck on the line" when four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, were axed for not completing a presentation during the ongoing Test series against India. Vice-captain Shane Watson, pacers James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson and batsman Usman Khawaja were left out from the third Test in Mohali, which India won by six wickets.
The four were axed for not completing a presentation on improvement needed in the team on time, a move which was called ridiculous by several former players, including Shane Warne. The 44-year-old Arthur, who closed his Twitter account on Tuesday, said he believed the decision was correct as team discipline was important.
"I've never been one just to sit back and let things drift," Arthur was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald. "If I'm doing that, I'm not doing my job. I'm empowered to coach this team, to run this team and get this team back to where it needs to be," he asserted.
A file photo of Australia coach Mickey Arthur talking to fast bowler Peter Siddle. (Getty Images)
Arthur said the presence of senior players is very important to develop team spirit. "We've got to understand where we're at, at the moment, with a very young group of players that needs to be shown the right way to go. If you've got older senior players, the team governs itself and then it's easy just to run and coach," he explained.
"If you've got a young team, you need to grab the team and really make the players understand what their responsibilities and ownerships are of the side. I would say I've put my neck on the line. But I've put my neck on the line because I'm really passionate about Australian cricket and I'm very passionate about this team," he said.
Arthur, the first foreigner to coach Australia, was roped in for a three-year term when he joined as head coach in November 2011. Currently lagging 0-3 in the four-match series against India, it is perhaps the toughest phase of Arthur's tenure after decent results with an inexperienced team earlier. "I want this team to achieve ultimate success and that's to get to number one in the world," Arthur said.