Clarke leaps to Arthur’s defence as Aussie cricket is plunged into disarray

 
Frank Dalleres
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AUSTRALIA captain Michael Clarke last night defended the controversial axeing that threatens to render the country’s once proud cricket team a laughing stock just months before back-to-back Ashes series.

Coach Micky Arthur caused a storm by dropping four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, for this week’s third Test in India because they failed to write “homework” on how to improve.

Watson responded by announcing he was considering his future, saying he had planned to miss the fourth Test anyway, while former Test captain Allan Border derided Arthur’s punishment as “over the top”.

But Clarke rallied to Arthur’s defence and hinted that Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja’s offences were not their first.

“We can’t accept mediocrity here,” said Clarke, whose side trail India 2-0. “It’s not just about one incident, there have been a number of things where we haven’t been giving ourselves every opportunity to be the best players we can be.”

Watson, who said he had planned to miss next week’s fourth Test for the birth of his child, insisted he had “a lot to give”, but added: “I’ve got to sit down with my family and decide which directions [are the right ones].”